Citing two unnamed people familiar with the calls, Bloomberg reported that Trump was in a meeting with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg when he made the latter of two surprise, unusual calls to Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan.
Bogdan is the program executive officer for the Department of Defense agency responsible for purchasing F-35 aircraft for the Navy, Air Force, Marines and some U.S. allies. Trump has frequently been critical of the program’s cost.
Trump’s first call with Bogdan was on Jan. 9, Bloomberg reported. The second, on Jan. 17, took place in front of an apparently surprised Muilenburg, according to Bloomberg’s sources.
"I would consider the calls to be very straightforward. He asked a lot of very, very, very good questions because he was in the learning mode,” Bogdan told Bloomberg of Trump’s calls to him. “The things I talked about in front of Mr. Muilenburg were clearly publicly releasable information. I understand the rules."
A spokesperson for Boeing pointed Bloomberg to Muilenburg's comments to press after his meeting with Trump in January.
“We discussed Air Force One, we discussed fighter aircraft,” the Boeing CEO told reporters on Jan. 17, noting that he had "made some great progress" with the President.
Aside from the bizarre logistics of having Muilenburg listen in on a call about his competitor’s government contract, Trump’s calls to Bogdan were also unusual in that they ignored the normal military chain of command, Bloomberg reported.