During his speech to a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) gathering in Kansas City on Tuesday, President Trump bragged about the fact that the military is ordering 147 new stealth planes, and indicated he thinks they’re literally invisible.
“This is an incredible plane — it’s stealth, you can’t see it,” Trump said. “So when I talk to even people from the other side, they’re trying to order our plane. They like the fact that you can’t see it. I said, ‘how would it do in battle with your plane?’ They say, ‘well we have one problem — we can’t see your plane.’ That’s a big problem.”
There’s just one problem — despite what Trump says, stealth planes are not invisible. “Stealth” refers to the capabilities the planes have to avoid detection, but the planes are still discernible to the naked eye. In fact, a photo of one of them is at the top of this post.
Nonetheless, Trump has repeatedly indicated that he thinks stealth planes are literally invisible — including three times in the last week alone.
Most recently, during a White House event on Monday, Trump touted that “there’s an F-35 stealth fighter on the South Lawn,” and added, “It’s special — can’t see it!”
During another White House event last Thursday, Trump complimented Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson by indicating he has no idea how a “stealth plane” works.
“She makes a plane you can’t see. It’s stealth!” Trump said. F-35. “I hope you can’t see it, at least, right?”
During a White House event with Hewson on March 22, Trump touted that his government “is buying billions and billions of dollars worth of that beautiful F-35.”
“It’s stealth — you cannot see it, is that correct?” Trump continued, turning to Hewson.
“That’s correct, Mr. President,” Hewson replied.
“Better be correct!” Trump said.
There is a nonzero chance that Trump thinks stealth planes are literally invisible pic.twitter.com/ihfaGtH9Aa
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 22, 2018
During a speech to members of the Coast Guard last November, Trump characterized the F-35 as “almost you know like an invisible fighter,” and then said he heard from “Air Force guys” who purportedly told him, “‘well sir you can’t see it… it wins every time because the enemy can’t see it, even if it’s right next to it, I can’t see it.'”
During a trip to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico last October, Trump went as far as to claim to Coast Guard members that “literally you can’t see” F-35s.
“Amazing job, and amazing job. So amazing that we’re ordering hundreds of millions of dollars of new airplanes for the Air Force, especially the F-35,” Trump said. “Do you like the F-35? I said how does it do it in fights, and how do they do in fights with the F-35. He says we do very well, you can’t see it. Literally you can’t see. It’s hard to fight a plane you can’t see right? But that’s an expensive plane you can’t see.”
Trump’s stubborn, false belief that stealth planes are invisible is just one example of many that could be cited. For instance, Trump has repeatedly insisted — including as recently as Monday — that former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt served 16 years in office. But that’s not the case — Roosevelt served just over 12 years before he passed away in 1945.
“One of the states we won, Wisconsin, I didn’t even realize this until fairly recently, that was the one state Ronald Reagan didn’t win when he ran the board,” Trump said during a speech earlier this month.
Reagan, however, actually won Wisconsin in 1984. The state Trump has in mind is Minnesota, but to date nobody has been able to correct him.