Editor’s Note – Why does this story just seem so wrong? With Obama virtually shutting down space exploration, one would think the head of NASA would have other priorities.
Perhaps it the blatant arrogance of the Obama administration, which says that Muslim outreach is not Bolden’s top priority, even though Bolden himself stated otherwise, so it must be so. Even if his actions continue to suggest it is. Suppose the families over on the Space Coast think this is a good use of his time?
Understand, this has nothing to do with Muslim outreach and everything to do with the American space program, or the lack thereof. In an age where American exceptionalism is being celebrated by the right, it appears to be under a full scale assualt by the left.
NASA Chief Who Called Muslim Outreach ‘Foremost’ Job Heads to Saudi Arabia
The NASA chief who caused an uproar over the summer when he said outreach to the Muslim world might be his “foremost” priority has embarked on a trip this weekend to Saudi Arabia.
A NASA spokesman said the visit is part of a multicountry tour. Administrator Charles Bolden and a delegation of several other NASA officials arrive in Saudi Arabia on Friday following a trip to Prague. From the Middle East, they will head next to Nepal where Bolden will give a keynote address at a climate change conference.
Though Bolden’s comments about Muslim outreach earlier raised concerns that the White House was squeezing him into an out-of-place diplomatic role, NASA spokesman John Yembrick said the trip “was not initiated” by either the White House or the State Department.
“This trip, including the visit to Saudi Arabia, is driven by specific, appropriate agency-level objectives,” he said in an e-mail.
Bolden plans to attend an aerospace technology conference Saturday and a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the shuttle flight STS-51G, a U.S. flight that carried the first Muslim — a member of Saudi royalty — into space. Bolden also may hold a meeting with Saudi King Abdullah.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that “top” NASA officials had urged Bolden not to make the trip, but NASA had no comment when asked about the claim.
The White House in July tried to walk back Bolden’s remarks after he told Al Jazeera about his diplomatic mission regarding Muslim nations. Bolden had said President Obama wanted him to help those countries “feel good” about their scientific contributions; critics said that while the outreach was worthwhile, it should not be a top priority for the space agency. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at the time that Bolden probably misspoke and that space exploration is still NASA’s top job.
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