— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) January 23, 2019
What is it with Repub draft-dodging Preznidents and the Red Planet? Olivia Nuzzi, professional journalistic assassin, targets “President” Ted Baxter for NYMag:
Donald Trump nearly derailed a televised call to the International Space Station after he got distracted, first by a sudden fantasy of going to Mars before the end of his first term in the White House, and then by a trip to the bathroom to check his reflection in the mirror, according to Team of Vipers, a new book by Cliff Sims, who worked as a communications official for Trump on his presidential campaign and in the West Wing.
The April 24, 2017 video call to congratulate the astronaut Peggy Whitson, who that day broke the record to become the American who has spent the longest amount of time in space, was an unusually smooth public event for the president…
Sims detailed the logistics of setting up the call, something that required NASA engineers and diagrams of the Oval Office and a walk-through beforehand. But the most important aspect of the plan, Sims learned, would be the timing. An engineer explained something called “orbital mechanics” to him, how the Space Station would only be reachable during a specific period of about 20 minutes when it was in just the right place. “The President would have to be right on time, a rarity,” Sims wrote…
As Sims explained to the president what was about to happen, “he scanned over his prepared remarks, crossing out some of the text with a Sharpie.” Meanwhile, Sims wrote, “the giant flat-screen TV hanging on the wall was turned to Fox News, on mute.” Trump asked him where the cameras would be positioned and “which side of his head would be most prominently featured.” Sims wrote that he “made sure the press cameras would be positioned on the right side,” which was Trump’s preference.
Then, something happened. Trump “suddenly appeared distracted, distant,” wrote Sims. “I could sense the gears inside of his head starting to turn. I was losing him.” As the clock ticked down, Trump “suddenly turned toward the NASA administrator.” He asked: “What’s our plan for Mars?”
Lightfoot explained to the president — who, again, had recently signed a bill containing a plan for Mars — that NASA planned to send a rover to Mars in 2020 and, by the 2030s, would attempt a manned spaceflight.
“Trump bristled,” according to Sims. He asked, “But is there any way we could do it by the end of my first term?”…
Fortunately, rocket scientists are smart enough to notice that he ALWAYS stiffs people https://t.co/wFRpI6hapU
— Ray Radlein (@Radlein) January 23, 2019
NASA employees remain furloughed pending a funding bill.
— Randy Phelps (@RandyLPhelps) January 23, 2019