Trump Nominates Science-Denying Politician To Run NASA
President Trump plans to nominate Rep. James Bridenstine (R-Okla.) to be the next administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the White House announced Friday.
Bridenstine entered Congress in 2013, serving on the House Armed Services Committee as well as the Science, Space and Technology Committee, which has jurisdiction over NASA.
He was also an aviator in the U.S. Navy Reserve, having flown combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bridenstine is one of two GOP lawmakers that Trump nominated on Friday to positions in his administration.
The White House also announced Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) as Trump’s pick to be the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Bridenstine’s nomination drew immediate criticism from both of Florida’s senators, who expressed concern over his lack of experience and partisanship.
“It’s the one federal mission which has largely been free of politics and it’s at a critical juncture in its history,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told Politico.
“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.”
In 2013, during his first year in Congress, Bridenstine infamously called on then-President Barack Obama to “apologize” to the state of Oklahoma for his “gross misallocation [sic]” of funds to climate change research.