Neither SpaceX, NASA nor the Trump campaign replied to emails asking for comment Thursday night.
Unlike his predecessors, who generally emphasized support by both Republicans and Democrats for the space program, President Trump has cast NASA in more partisan terms.
After the launch, he gave a celebratory speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida during which he thanked a list of politicians for their support of NASA — all Republicans. During the address, he also portrayed the space program as moribund when he took office in 2017 and gave himself credit for reviving NASA’s human spaceflight program.
“When I first came into office three and a half years ago, NASA had lost its way,” he said. He criticized the Obama administration, saying it “presided over the closing of the space shuttle.”
That and other assertions in the speech were exaggerations. While Mr. Trump has elevated elements of space policy in his White House, the NASA program that led to Saturday’s SpaceX launch started in 2009 during President Barack Obama’s first term.
It was shepherded by Charles F. Bolden Jr., a retired United States Marine Corps major general who served as NASA administrator during the Obama administration, and often encountered resistance from Republicans in Congress who criticized commercial crew and shifted money away to other programs.
The current administrator, Jim Bridenstine, invited Mr. Bolden to the launch and lauded the prior administrator’s efforts in getting commercial crew started.
Mr. Bolden said that he did have doubts at the start of his time at NASA that companies like SpaceX were capable of launching humans.
Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/science/spacex-trump-nasa.html