Finnish president rebukes Donald Trump's claim the country is buying "great fighter jets"

Trump's claim that Finland is buying Boeing jets isn't taking off quite yet

Published August 30, 2017 12:04PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
(AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

On Monday President Donald Trump made a big promise to American workers: Finland will be buying up lots of fighter jets from Boeing, an American company.

"One of the things that is happening is you’re purchasing large amounts of our great F-18 aircraft from Boeing and it’s one of the great planes, the great fighter jets," Trump said during a press conference with Finland's president, Sauli Niinisto.

But there was one problem: The president didn't verify before he spoke. Because the next day, Niinisto tweeted that he wouldn't commit to replacing his country's fighter planes with Boeing's F-18 aircraft.

Niinsto told Finnish reporters, “It seems that on the sale side, past decisions and hopes about future decisions have mixed . . . The purchase is just starting, and that is very clear here.”

And the country is eyeing a bunch of companies to replace his old fleet. Many of them aren't based in the United States, Reuters notes:

A government working group has listed possible candidates as Saab’s Jas Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, Boeing’s Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and the Eurofighter, made by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Finland won't be taking bids until 2018, so there's plenty of time for Trump to do some more lobbying — however direct or indirect they may be. But they won't be making a decision until "the early 2020s," perhaps long after Trump has left office.

By Michael Glassman

Michael Glassman is on Salon’s Breaking News team. You can find him on Twitter at @warnkemg

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