Trump was invited to attend next week’s rope launch. Michael Waltz, a Northeast Florida Republican whose district includes the northern tip of Cape Canaveral but not the launch page itself. Waltz said in an interview on Friday that Trump got “fired up” when the two men discussed the significance of the event for the development of the US space program.
“With everything going on, the relaunch of America, the relaunch of our economy, the relaunch of Florida, the symbolism that I think is really exciting,” said Waltz, who plans to fly aboard Air Force One from Washington with Trump to the event.
Trump resumed his trip about three weeks ago after spending nearly two months in the White House during the coronavius outbreak. It will be his first trip unrelated to the pandemic. Vice President Mike Pence will also attend, his office said Friday. The White House official who confirmed Trump̵
The test launch, called the Demo-2 mission, will mark the first time NASA sends astronauts into orbit aboard a spaceship built by a private company. The President has previously praised SpaceX’s owners and called Musk “one of our great geniuses” and compares him to inventor Thomas Edison. In recent weeks, Musk has been chafing at Twitter for coronavirus-related shutdowns. Last week, he opened Tesla’s plant in Fremont, California, against local regulations. Trump praised the move.
It will be the first crew of American astronauts to launch from American Earth since the space shuttle program ended in 2011. The spacecraft will depart from Launch Complex 39A, the cushion used by the Apollo astronauts to reach the moon, to travel to the international space station.
“President Trump continues to fulfill his promise to secure American dominance in space,” said the White House official, referring to the establishment of the Space Force, the sixth branch of the armed services.
On June 18, 2018, Trump led the Department of Defense to begin setting up the space force. It was officially established on December 6, 2019.
This is the second high-profile event this year that Waltz has encouraged Trump to join his recently adopted home state. Waltz also encouraged the president to come to the Daytona 500 in February. “NASCAR and NASA – that’s what we do, that’s who we are, it’s in our DNA,” Waltz said in the interview.
Waltz said it makes sense for Trump to participate in the launch because he has pushed for a renewed focus on space exploration, including the creation of the space force.
“He appreciates it for how important it is for Florida’s economy, how important it is for the country,” said Waltz, who noted that since 2011, Americans must leave Russia. He said Trump called it “ridiculous” that the United States has not been able to launch spacecraft from American soil and promised “never again.”
“I don’t think many Americans realize that we have to ‘mother I get’ to the Russians in the last decade to get our astronauts into space,” Waltz said.
Trump’s visit comes just months before he expects to win in Florida to help with reelection strategy. He started his reelection campaign in Florida, a state he barely won with nearly 113.00 votes over Hillary Clinton four years ago.
Trump joked with reporters at the White House earlier this week that he would attend the launch. “I’m thinking of going, and it will be next week, for the rocket launch,” he said. “I hope you all will join me. I’d like to put you on the rocket, get rid of you for a while. “
Pence, who previously announced his trip to Florida, will also attend. It will be his second trip to Florida in a week after visiting Florida Gov. Ron DeSanti’s Thursday to reveal the reopening of the state amid the pandemic.
“It’s great to be in Florida because I’ll be back in a week, not too far away, for the first time in almost ten years, we will send American astronauts back to space in US rockets from Kennedy Space [Center], Sa Pence.
“He has been a great advocate for the space industry, in terms of NASA and also the private sector,” DeSantis replied. “It’s been a huge impetus here in the state of Florida. They continue to do great things even through this pandemic and will continue to do so.”