President Donald Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, first daughter and/or White House adviser Ivanka Trump, and NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine gathered in the Roosevelt Room Friday, October 18, for an event commemorating the first all-woman spacewalk. During the event, the president called NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch while they were working outside the International Space Station.
As Vice pointed out, the commander in chief didn’t have a grasp of the basic details surrounding what made the spacewalk historically significant.
“I’m thrilled to be speaking with two brave American astronauts making history. This is the first time for a woman outside of the space station,” Trump said erroneously. A few seconds later, he repeated his mistake by calling the mission “the first-ever female spacewalk.”
According to CNN, Koch and Meir are actually the 13th and 14th women to walk in space. Russian astronaut Svetlana Savitskaya already broke that barrier in 1984. NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan became the first American to spacewalk that same year. Both Koch and Meir have been on spacewalks before, but they comprise the first all-female crew to undertake the endeavor.
“You’re doing an incredible job,” says @POTUS to @Astro_Christina and @Astro_Jessica during today’s #AllWomanSpacewalk. Tune in to watch history in the making: https://t.co/2SIb9YFKsH pic.twitter.com/bMMSzKVaFc
— NASA (@NASA) October 18, 2019
Meir gracefully corrected the president amid her fifth of seven hours working outside the space station. “First of all, we don’t want to take too much credit, because there have been many other female spacewalkers before us,” she informed the president. “This is just the first time there have been two women outside at the same time.”
“It’s really interesting for us,” Meir added. “This is just us doing our job. We’ve been training for six years, so it’s coming up here and doing our job. At the same time, we recognize that it is a historic achievement and we want to give credit to the women who came before us. We have followed in their footsteps to get where are today.”
Getting the key detail of a historic event wrong several times on live TV would have been awkward enough for anyone else, but Trump is apparently incapable of caring about anything that doesn’t seem to place him firmly in the center of attention.
The real cringe moment came during the sign-off when President Trump bid the astronauts adieu and then waited for the emphatic goodbye he was expecting. Viewers were then treated to 13 painful seconds as C-SPAN’s camera pulls away and we’re left Ivanka and her Succession-style power bob.
It’s funny how Ivanka never seems to be around when trouble arises, or eager to answer difficult questions about her boss’s disastrous policies, yet is always available to flash her giant veneers at the cameras during any non-partisan photo op.
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