President Trump reprised his criticism this week that the Navy should scrap its new aircraft carrier launch systems and return to "goddamn steam" catapults, according to a report.
The president privately touted his effort to save money by getting rid of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, which the Navy says allows it to launch aircraft more quickly, at a gathering of wealthy donors on Tuesday, according to the Washington Post.
In May, Trump complained that EMALS was too expensive and so complicated "you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out." Guests at the event told the Post he used a new comparison for the electromagnetic launchers.
"It's like when you get a new car and you have to be a computer genius to fix your seat, right?" he reportedly said. "The seat's moving all over the place, it's unbelievable."
In May, Trump told Time magazine that he ordered the Navy to abandon EMALS.
"I said what system are you going to be — 'Sir, we're staying with digital.' I said no you're not. [You're] going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it's no good," he said.
But the Navy is sticking with the new electromagnetic system, which it spent years developing.
The service requested $580 million for the systems for its fiscal 2018 budget. In June, the Navy commissioned the USS Gerald R. Ford, the first ship to use the system. All of the Navy's other aircraft carriers use steam catapults to launch aircraft.
When Trump brought up the issue the first time, Mark Cancian, senior adviser in the international security program at Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he expected the Navy to sit tight and hope Trump moves onto something else.
"I would guess it would be billions of dollars and years of effort" to replace the electromagnetic catapults, Cancian said. "So that is why you are hearing crickets because it is just not doable."