President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that airplanes are becoming "far too complex" following an Ethiopian Airlines flight over the weekend that crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board.
"Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT," Trump wrote.
The president added in a second tweet: "I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!"
Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019
....needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019
The plane that crashed was a Boeing 737 Max 8, the same model as an ill-fated Indonesian Lion Air flight that crashed after takeoff last year, killing all 189 people on board.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that U.S. airlines can still fly the model, an announcement that came as other countries such as Great Britain, Australia, China, Singapore, Indonesia and Argentina grounded the Boeing 737 Max jets.
Trump has yet to offer personal condolences to the victims, though White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Monday offered "our prayers to the loved ones, friends and family of those killed in the tragic crash."
Also on Monday, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called on the FAA to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.
"The FAA must guarantee that all critical software updates have been delivered and pilots are well trained in their operation," Blumenthal said in a statement, adding that the federal agency and the airline industry "must act quickly and decisively to protect American travelers, pilots and flight attendants."
Air travel is statistically much safer today than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Data from the Aviation Safety Network showed that the number of airliner accidents per million flights has dropped considerably since the 1970s.