President Donald Trump, right, Vice President Mike Pence, and Second Lady Karen Pence watch the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, from the balcony of Operations Support Building II at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission is the first launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The test flight serves as an end-to-end demonstration of SpaceX’s crew transportation system. Behnken and Hurley launched at 3:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 30, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to low-Earth orbit for the first time since the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
President Trump and his campaign took down a video late Thursday that featured the recent SpaceX launch after critics said it was politicizing the event and violated NASA’s advertising rules.
The video featured footage of the president watching the historic launch from last week from Kennedy Space Center, with his usual slogan-style: “Make Space Great Again.” This was intercut with historic footage from the Apollo era.
Karen Nyberg, a former astroanut and the wife of Doug Hurley (one of the astronauts carried to the ISS in the launch), took to Twitter to blast the video, saying she thought it “disturbing that a video image of me and my son is being used in political propaganda without my knowledge or consent. That is wrong.”
Hurley and Bob Behnken were the first American astronauts to be carried into orbit from American soul since 2011. It was a brief moment of inspiration during the pandemic and George Floyd protests.
However, the ad was quickly attacked for using an event accomplished by science and engineering for political gain.
Furthermore, the ad goes against the advertising policy of NASA, which prohibits the organization from endorsing “a commercial product, service or activity.”
“Astronauts or employees who are currently employed by NASA cannot have their names, likenesses or other personality traits displayed in any advertisements or marketing material.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for a comment about the video.
This isn’t the first time that politicians have used the accomplishments and achievements of NASA to backdrop their own political agenda. John Logsdon, a space historian and a professor emeritus at George Washington University, spoke of how it reminded him of Richard Nixon:
“He had nothing to do with Apollo 11; he just happened to be the president when it happened. But he wrapped himself in the event. And never once mentioned Kennedy.”
Trump was obviously eager to use this launch to tout his administration with a possible re-election coming up this November, but it looks like people aren’t having it. It may not be a great time for him to be touting anything when he is facing a monstrous tidal wave of criticisms for his handling of the pandemic and the protests.
For all your political news and more, be sure to check back in here with ScoopHash.