President Trump shifted from discussing the federal government's relief efforts in Puerto Rico to taking credit for saving money on F-35 fighter jets on Tuesday, saying the lower price tag is "something that other administrations would never have done."
"We are ordering hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new airplanes for the Air Force, especially the F-35. Do you like the F-35?" Trump asked military representatives in attendance at a briefing in San Juan. One of the officers referred to it as a "game-changing technology" and "awesome airplane." "I said, how does it do in the fights and how did they do in fights with the F-35? We do very well. You can't see it, literally, you can't see it. So it's hard to fight a plane that you can't see, right?
"But that's an expensive plane that you can't see. And as you probably heard, we cut the price very substantially, something that other administrations would never have done. That I can tell you."
Trump has touted savings on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter before, and said in February he saved taxpayers $700 million on the 10th batch of fighter jets.
The president said at the time he had been working with Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson to lower the price tag.
But despite Trump's claims, the general manager of Lockheed Martin's F-35 program said in 2015 the cost of the fighter jets would continue to decrease, and many of the reductions were already in the works before Trump became president. Aviation experts have also roundly disputed Trump's claim of cost savings.
The president and first lady Melania Trump were in Puerto Rico to receive a briefing on the federal government's response to Hurricane Maria, which hit the island late last month.
Since the storm made landfall, most of Puerto Rico has been without power, and more than half of the island's residents are without access to drinking water.
In addition to attending a briefing, the president and first lady are also scheduled to meet with people affected by the hurricane, as well as members of the Navy and Marine Corps.