President Trump talked on Thursday with Huntington Ingalls Industries CEO Mike Petters about how to “buy these things smarter,” continuing his mission of working with defense industry to bring down prices.

Petters, who met with Trump during the president’s visit to Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, declined to get into details of the discussions between the two men, but said it was a “very exciting day.”

“We talked about how can you buy these things smarter,” Petters told the Washington Examiner. “He was very engaged in meeting sailors and shipbuilders and what the ship can do and how it operates.”

Trump on Thursday addressed sailors and shipyard workers from aboard the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford. Petters said the president also met with those who are building and operating the ship and toured some other spaces on the carrier, which has not yet been commissioned.

The first-in-class, which will cost about $13 billion, has faced a number of setbacks, including engine trouble and delivery delays. Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in October that the Ford program is “a textbook example of how not to build a ship.”

Trump has taken on two other high-cost Pentagon acquisition projects since taking office. He secured a personal promise from Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg that the program to build two new Air Force One planes will cost less than $4 billion. Trump said last month that he saved about $1 billion on the $4 billion program with just an hour of negotiations.

Trump has also met multiple times with Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson about ways to bring down the cost of the F-35 joint strike fighter. When the contract was awarded for the most recent lot of F-35s, Lockheed said in a statement that Trump’s “personal involvement” in the program “accelerated the negotiations and sharpened our focus on driving down the price.”

Military analysts and budget experts have said that Trump took credit for cost savings that were already going to happen.

Melania Trump reads 'Oh, the Places You'll Go' to children in hospital

Also from the Washington Examiner

The first lady — decked in black stilettos and a cobalt-blue sweater — visited the children on Thursday.

03/02/17 5:08 PM

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