Science & Technology

After seeing milestone launch, President Trump hails space effort as a force for ‘pride and unity’

President Donald Trump held up America’s space effort as a unifying endeavor for a divided nation after turning into solely the third sitting president to witness the launch of American astronauts in particular person.

Trump, together with Vice President Mike Pence and different VIPs, made the journey to NASA’s Kennedy Space Middle in Florida not simply as soon as however twice this week.

The primary time round, Trump and different members of the family together with his spouse, Melania Trump, flew down from Washington for a launch try that on account of climate issues.

He returned immediately and watched SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to the Worldwide Space Station  in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.

It marked the primary in-person presidential viewing of a crewed launch since President Invoice Clinton in 1998. Earlier than that, President Richard Nixon in 1969. (President Lyndon Johnson after he left workplace, and President Barack Obama on account of a technical scrub.)

After the SpaceX launch, Trump delivered remarks at NASA’s cavernous Car Meeting Constructing with VIPs, launch group members and journalists within the viewers.

“We had been full of the sense of satisfaction and unity that brings us collectively as Individuals,” Trump stated. “That very same spirit which powered our astronauts to the moon has additionally helped elevate our nation to ever-greater heights of justice and alternative all through our historical past.”

Trump didn’t put on a masks throughout his go to, however he did acknowledge the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The identical spirit of American dedication that sends our individuals into space will conquer this illness on Earth [that] ought to’ve by no means occurred.” he stated. “Nothing, not even gravity itself, can maintain Individuals down or hold America again.”

The president additionally referred to the unrest that has roiled most of the nation’s cities after police in Minneapolis killed a black resident named George Floyd throughout a streetside encounter.

Trump stated “we are going to stand with the household of George Floyd, with the peaceable protesters and with each law-abiding citizen who needs decency, civility, security and safety.” However he additionally stated “my administration will cease mob violence.”

He claimed that the violence was being led by “radical left-wing teams” — however authorities in Minnesota say it’s not but clear who’s accountable for upsetting the violence. and benefit from the disaster.

Trump talked up some coming sights in space. “Now we have created the envy of the world and will quickly be touchdown on Mars, and we’ll quickly have the best weapons ever imagined in historical past,” he stated. “I’ve already seen designs, and even I can’t consider it.” (That could be a reference to .)

On the identical time, he talked down the insurance policies of the Obama administration. “After I first got here into workplace, three and a half years in the past, NASA had misplaced its approach, and the joy, power and ambition, as nearly everyone on this room is aware of, was gone,” Trump stated.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee to run towards Trump in November, took concern with that view. Biden famous that NASA’s industrial crew program was began up throughout the Obama administration.

“This mission represents the fruits of labor begun years in the past, and which President Obama and I fought laborious to make sure would turn out to be a actuality,” Biden stated.

Throughout a post-launch information briefing, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took a middle-of-the-road course: He praised the work achieved throughout the Obama administration by his predecessor, Charles Bolden, as nicely as the initiative proven by the Trump administration in and .

“What’s nice about NASA is, we carry individuals collectively,” stated Bridenstine, who was a Republican congressman representing an Oklahoma district earlier than .

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who obtained kudos from Trump on the Car Meeting Constructing, agreed with Bridenstine’s sentiment. “We’d like extra constructive, good issues on this world,” Musk stated throughout the briefing.

Musk additionally managed to get in a diplomatic dig at Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin, who stated throughout the 2014 Ukraine disaster that U.S. sanctions towards Russia would.

“After analyzing the sanctions towards our space business, I counsel to the USA to carry their astronauts to the Worldwide Space Station utilizing a trampoline,” .

In the present day, Bridenstine famous that Rogozin despatched out a assertion that was “overwhelmingly congratulatory in the direction of NASA and SpaceX.”

“The trampoline is working,” Musk quipped. “Inside joke.”

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