President Trump hosts White House showcase

Donald Trump greets Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson in front of a Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter on the driveway abutting the South Lawn last year prior to delivering remarks at a showcase of American-made products event at the White House.

President Donald Trump on Friday urged Lockheed Martin to keep open its Sikorsky helicopter plant in Coatesville, Penn., a week after the weapons maker announced the planned closure of the facility.

The F-35 fighter jets maker had announced plans to close the plant which does “completion work” for Sikorsky’s S-92 and S-76D helicopters,citing a multi-year slump in the industry, possibly due to the protracted downturn in oil prices. The plant employs about 465 employees.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Lockheed Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson “about continuing operations for the Sikorsky plan,” while adding that “she will be taking it under advisement. ...”

“While Pennsylvania is BOOMING, I don’t want there to be even a little glitch in Coatesville — every job counts. I want Lockhead to BOOM along with it!” Trump wrote, misspelling the name of the company.

Pennsylvania often is a pivotal state in U.S. presidential elections. Trump, who is seeking re-election in 2020, won the state in the 2016 election. Coatesville is roughly 40 miles west of Philadelphia.

Lockheed confirmed that its CEO had a conversation with Trump about alternatives for the plant.

“We had an open and constructive conversation and I agreed to explore additional options,” Lockheed wrote on Twitter, quoting Hewson.

Lockheed had previously planned to close the plant by the end of this year.