President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the U.S. is grounding Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 planes effective immediately, following other nations after a deadly crash last weekend in Ethiopia.
Trump made the announcement on Boeing planes at a briefing on drug trafficking, saying the accident was “tragic.” Boeing shares turned lower after Trump’s announcement.
Trump said he discussed the grounding with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and acting Federal Aviation Administration administrator Daniel Elwell. “They are all in agreement with the action,” Trump said. “The safety of the American people and all people are our paramount concern.”
According to CNN, he called Boeing an “incredible company” that is working hard to come up with an answer.
The President has gotten flack from the left and right over the government’s decision not to ground the planes earlier, with at least one senator — Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren — saying Congress should investigate the relationship between the Trump administration and the company.
Still, Boeing’s handling of the episode has worried members of Congress. At least one lawmaker on Wednesday suggested the possibility of forcing executives to testify.
“I think the questions have to be answered and if they’re not going to be answered in the near-term voluntarily … I think Congress would then absolutely have a duty to act and subpoena those people to come and testify,” Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) said on CNN.
Several members of Congress, including some of Trump’s most ardent critics, praised the President’s decision to ground the planes.
“I must acknowledge @realDonaldTrump for honoring the request of many including myself to ground the 737 Max 8 jets that have taken the lives of far too many,” tweeted Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who has pushed for Trump’s impeachment.
Some Democrats, such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), called Trump’s decision overdue.
“This step is right but unacceptably overdue,” said Blumenthal, who was among the first lawmakers to call for the planes to be grounded. “Our nation should be leading, not lagging, in air safety. Strong, immediate scrutiny is necessary.”