A Retired Astronaut Just Blasted Trump's Space Force Proposal, And He Makes Some Valid Points

Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech to the Pentagon pushing for the creation of a Space Force, which he touted as a new, "separate but equal" branch of the United States Armed Forces.

The proposal has been met with widespread skepticism and even ridicule, and former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has been an outspoken opponent of the idea.


On Thursday, Kelly, who commanded the International Space Station, believes a Space Force is unnecessary.

"We currently have a great capability within the U.S. military and ," he said in an interview with Fox News, "and adding another layer of government bureaucracy to the tune of $8 billion initially is probably not a good use of our taxpayer dollars."

Kelly explained that the Air Force already monitors space, which it has since U.S. Space Command was reintegrated into the branch in 2002.

Kelly also derided President Donald Trump for unilaterally calling for a new branch of the military, and blasted the president's reelection campaign for selling "Space Force swag."

To me, that tells you pretty much what the reason behind this was, is that it's political.

Twitter chimed in with its thoughts on Trump's Space Force.

This continued the astronaut's remarks from last Friday, when Kelly told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Velshi said he sees the venture, as both a danger to the peaceful exploration of space and a waste of money.

"It's not clear to me what the purpose is of this new branch of the military, which is going to be incredibly expensive," Kelly said Friday. "And my big concern here is that, you know, space has been a place for us to work in a peaceful manner. And, you know, changing that with not any clear reason at this point is, like I said, kind of hard to understand."

Kelly, a U.S. Navy veteran, added that a Space Force would add needless bureaucracy and create redundancy in work done by other branches of the military.

“Any time you add more bureaucracy to an already large bureaucracy, it's going to cost a lot of money. I think the capability we're talking about is something that probably already exists in the U.S. military, in the Air Force, Navy, other armed services,” he said. "I spent 25 years in the Navy, and 20 of it at NASA. And this is not something that we ever really heard was a serious consideration over all that time."

Kelly suggested that the president should focus on the current cyberwar with Russia, which is ongoing and presents a clear and immediate danger to our national security.

"How about we deal with the war we're currently in? The cyberwar that is, you know, trying to affect our democracy, the thing that's most important to the United States, which is free and fair elections," Kelly said.

"We're currently in a war right now," he added. "We should worry about that one and worry about war in space later."

Kelly's twin brother, astronaut Mark Kelly, also blasted Trump's Space Force following the vice president's speech on Thursday.

Kelly, who said in June that it was a "dumb idea" to create a new branch of the military, told MSNBC's Chris Jansing he "still stands by" his "dumb idea comment."

Kelly reiterated his brother's stance that a Space Force would add complicated bureaucracy and would require draining money from other programs, despite the president's pledge of a "budget neutral" project.

Kelly agreed that there are threats out there, but the Armed Forces are not falling short of their current responsibilities.

The Air Force does "a really good job at this."

He added that Trump is the only person who thinks a Space Force is a "fantastic idea."

The only person that I've heard say this is a fantastic idea is the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States. Everybody else says it's redundant, it's wasteful. We don't have the need out there right now.

Kelly concluded by saying there is a "lack understanding" about space in the White House and that he "hasn't heard of any big fans" of the Space Force.

C-SPAN

If you think Fox News is the most loyal network to President Donald Trump, you likely haven't heard of One America News Network, or OAN.

The unabashedly pro-Trump network—largely considered a far-Right fringe outlet—has enjoyed expanded viewership over recent years thanks to glowing reviews from the President.

It's even been added to the prestigious White House press pool.

People were reminded of the network's bizarre Trump-era ascension during Monday's White House press briefing regarding the pandemic that—at the time of this writing—has resulted in over 3,000 deaths across the United States.

OAN's White House correspondent Chanel Rion compared the growing number of deaths from the pandemic to abortion procedures, asking Trump if abortions should be suspended all together.

The question flummoxed Trump himself.

Watch below.

Rion said:

"2,405 Americans have died from [the virus] in the last 60 days. Meanwhile, you have 2,369 children who are killed by their mothers through elective abortions each day. That's 16 and a half thousand children killed every week. Two states have suspended elective abortion to make more resources available...Should more states be doing the same?"

Even Trump seemed confused by the question, and notably didn't wade into the abortion aspect of the question:

"I think what we're doing, we're trying to, as a group ,governors—and that's Republicans and Democrats—we're just working together to solve this problem. What you're mentioning has been going on for a long time and it's a sad event, a lot of sad events in this country. But what we're doing now is working on the virus...and I think we're doing a great job—as good a job as you can possibly do."

People noticed that even Trump—either purposely or otherwise—didn't take the bait from one of his favorite networks.




Rion, who is Asian-American, previously made headlines when she asked Trump—who'd been criticized for describing the virus as "Chinese Virus"—if the phrase "Chinese food" was racist.

Her questions, while satiating viewers who prioritize "owning the libs" over potentially lifesaving information, have only confirmed the degradation of the press corps under the Trump era.




OAN's only redeemable quality? It doesn't claim to be "fair and balanced."


Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images // Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage

Even in the face of a global pandemic, President Donald Trump hasn't dispensed with his typical pettiness.

The President made that perfectly clear on Sunday afternoon, as deaths caused by the national health crisis continued to increase.

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President Donald Trump held his pandemic press briefing in the Rose Garden on Sunday—but his mood was far from rosy.

One particularly heated exchange came when he took a question from PBS NewsHour's White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.

Alcindor asked Trump about the the skepticism he expressed that New York—the epicenter of the health crisis facing the United States—was exaggerating the number of lifesaving ventilators it needs to help curb the virus.

Trump interrupted Alcindor, claiming he "didn't say" that, then proceeded to berate her for her so-called "threatening" question.

Watch below.

Alcindor asked:

"You've said repeatedly that you think that some of the equipment governors are requesting, they don't actually need. You said New York might not need 30 thousand—"

Trump interrupted:

"I didn't say that. I didn't say that. Why don't you people...why don't you act in a little more positive? It's always trying to get me. Getcha, getcha. You know what, that's why nobody trusts the media anymore."

Though the President didn't reciprocate, Alcindor remained professional and repeated her question despite the President's attacks on her journalistic integrity in front of her colleagues.

What's more, Alcindor was right—and video proves it.

Alcindor referred to statements Trump made on far-right Fox News host Sean Hannity's show.

Watch below.

Trump said:

"I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they're going to be. I don't believe you need 40 thousand or 30 thousand ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, they'll have two ventilators and now all of a sudden they're saying, 'can we have 30 thousand ventilators?'"

Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has made clear that New York has yet to reach the height of the pandemic. The current number of ventilators is not enough to treat all of the infections to come, which could force doctors into rationing them and choosing not to treat patients with less optimistic prognoses.

Alcindor later pointed out that Trump did, in fact, express skepticism that New York was asking for ventilators they didn't need.

People called Trump out for responding to his own words with petty attacks.



They praised Alcindor for holding him accountable when so many others won't.




This was far from the first time Trump personally attacked Alcindor for doing her job.

Astonishingly, Trump denied his own words again in the same press conference when CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond asked Trump to elaborate on his Friday statements that governors aren't being "appreciative" enough of him and his administration.

If a President isn't beholden to congressional oversight, basic transparency, and even his own words, how can he be beholden to the American people?

For more stories of Trump's ineptitude from people who were there, check out A Very Stable Genius, available here.

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