‘Alien!’ –Opposition Mounts to Trump’s Pick of Bridenstine to Head NASA: “A Politician Shouldn’t Lead USA’s Space Program”





In contrast to NASA's former head, Charles Frank Bolden, Jr. (see video below),  a retired United States Marine Corps Major General, and a former NASA astronaut and 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Florida’s Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson are voicing opposition to President Donald Trump’s pick for NASA administrator, Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine, saying a “politician” shouldn’t lead the nation’s space program. Both senators they suggested the GOP congressman’s political past would needlessly spark a partisan fight in the Senate that could ultimately damage NASA.

The current acting administrator is Robert Lightfoot, whose permanent role at NASA is associate administrator, which is the agency's highest-ranking civil servant position. Lightfoot took over on Jan. 20, the day the former Obama-appointed administrator Bolden retired.


“The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician,” Nelson said in a brief written statement to POLITICO. 

The bipartisan push back against Trump’s nominee for NASA administrator underscores the importance of the agency to Florida, home of the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Nelson, as a member of Congress, in 1986 flew on a Space Shuttle Columbia mission; he also has a home on what’s known as the state’s Space Coast.


Rubio said he and Nelson “share the same concerns” and worry Bridenstine’s “political baggage” would weigh him down in a GOP-led Senate that has grown increasingly resistant to Trump. NASA can’t afford that, Rubio said.

“I just think it could be devastating for the space program. Obviously, being from Florida, I’m very sensitive to anything that slows up NASA and its mission,” Rubio told POLITICO.

“It’s the one federal mission which has largely been free of politics and it’s at a critical juncture in its history,” Rubio said. “I would hate to see an administrator held up — on [grounds of] partisanship, political arguments, past votes, or statements made in the past — because the agency can’t afford it and it can’t afford the controversy.”

Noting NASA’s mission to Mars, Rubio said the agency is at critical moment in its history and he would prefer an administrator who has the “respect of the people who work there from a leadership and even a scientific perspective.”

The Daily Galaxy via Politico and New York Times

Kickstart Your Day With "The Daily Galaxy –Great Discoveries Channel" Free Email Delivery





"The Galaxy" in Your Inbox, Free, Daily