Enlarge / Jim Bridenstine, standing with his family, takes the oath of office from Vice President Mike Pence. (credit: NASA)
During his lengthy confirmation process to become NASA’s new administrator, Oklahoma conservative Jim Bridenstine got pilloried for being a divider rather than a uniter. Noting Bridenstine’s attacks on Marco Rubio during the 2016 presidential election, Florida Senator Bill Nelson characterized Bridenstine’s politics as “divisive and extreme.” Given that the space agency was apolitical, Nelson asked, “How do you keep NASA from being dragged down in a divisive political background?”
Nelson, a Democrat, was never satisfied with Bridenstine’s answers and opposed his nomination to become administrator until the end. As a result, so did the entire Democratic party, and this forced a tense, party-line vote on Bridenstine when in the past NASA administrators have largely been approved by unanimous consent.
Truthfully, no one knows how Bridenstine will lead NASA. Critics have painted him as a climate change denier and against gay rights. However, the former congressman struck a moderate tone during his confirmation hearing, and as a pilot with a background in the US Navy, he has shown leadership on key aerospace issues during this five-and-a-half years in Congress.
Source: FS – All – Science – News
On his first day, NASA’s new administrator sets an inclusive tone