President Donald Trump apparently doesn’t like digital.
In an interview with Time magazine published Thursday, Trump railed against what he called a “digital catapult system” the Navy was using on the USS Gerald R. Ford.
The futuristic aircraft carrier, which began sea trials in April, uses an electromagnetic aircraft-launch system, which reduces maintenance costs and can speed up the launch of aircraft, among other benefits.
Here’s what Trump told Time’s Zeke Miller:
You know the catapult is quite important. So I said what is this? ‘Sir, this is our digital catapult system.’ He said, ‘Well, we’re going to this because we wanted to keep up with modern [technology].’ I said, ‘You don’t use steam anymore for catapult?’ ‘No sir.’ I said, ‘Ah, how is it working?’ ‘Sir, not good. Not good. Doesn’t have the power. You know the steam is just brutal. You see that sucker going, and steam’s going all over the place, there’s planes thrown in the air.’
It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated. You have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. And I said — and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said what system are you going to be — ‘Sir, we’re staying with digital.’ I said, ‘No you’re not. You going to goddamned steam. The digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.
Trump visited the Ford in March, giving a speech from the deck in which he talked about the need for an increase to the defense budget. It’s unclear whether Trump’s order to someone on board to use steam-powered hydraulic catapults will be carried out.