Trump — who ran his own airline into the ground — used his big rally finale to bash the industry in a bizarre rant: 'They don't know what the hell they're doing'

WARREN, MI - OCTOBER 01: Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Save America rally on October 1, 2022 in Warren, Michigan. Trump has endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo, Attorney General candidate Matthew DePerno, and Republican businessman John James ahead of the November midterm election.
  • Trump targeted the airline industry at a Republican campaign rally in Michigan on Saturday.

  • "We are a nation whose once-revered airports are a dirty, crowded, mess," he said.

  • Trump was at the rally to support GOP candidates Tudor Dixon, Matt DePerno, and Kristina Karamo.

Former President Donald Trump bashed the airline industry at a campaign rally in Michigan on Saturday.

Trump visited Macomb county to support Republican candidates, including Tudor Dixon, who is running against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Dixon, a Trump-backed candidate, is currently trailing Whitmer in the latest polling.

During the hourlong speech, Trump covered his usual list of grievances and also thanked conservative activist Ginni Thomas for telling the January 6 House Select Committee that she believed the 2020 election was stolen from him.

During the close of his speech, Trump attempted a dramatic reading over a piece of music tenuously linked to QAnon. After spending a few minutes talking about violent crime, he took an abrupt detour to single out airlines and airports, saying those working in commercial aviation have no idea when flights will arrive on time.

"We are a nation whose once-revered airports are a dirty, crowded mess where you sit and wait for hours and then are notified that the plane won't leave," Trump said.

"It's a nation where ticket prices are through the roof. They don't have the pilots to fly the plane. They don't want or seek qualified air traffic controllers. And they don't know what the hell they're doing," he said.


This past summer was a chaotic time for air travel as thousands of flights were canceled or delayed due to high demand and staff shortages.

Trump has criticized the industry before. In 2019, after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed and killed 157 people, he tweeted that airlines had become "far too complex to fly" and that "pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT," according to MSNBC

Conversely, he has also taken credit for positive news coming out of the aviation industry.

When a report found there were zero accidental deaths in commercial passenger jets in 2017, Trump chalked it up to his own doing, tweeting: "Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news - it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!"

Trump's interest in aviation might stem from his short stint owning an airline. In 1989, he raised $365 million to purchase the Eastern Air Shuttle, which consisted of 21 Boeing 727s that Trump spent $1 million each to refurbish. 

After 18 months, Trump lost over $125 million but claimed he didn't lose money on the shuttle, telling The Boston Globe: "I'm smart. I got out at a good time."

The news outlet reported that after missing a $1.1 million interest payment, Trump asked Citibank to defer future payments. Because he had leverage over his creditors, Trump was no longer responsible for the $245 million in loans, and from the $135 million that he had personally guaranteed, at least $100 million was forgiven, as per the outlet.

By 1992, he walked away from it.

Representatives for Trump did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

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