Donald Trump has scrubbed his plans to visit Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on Tuesday. The campaign for reality show host and Republican nominee for president was reportedly unable to find a nearby location for a rally that would be able to host enough attendees.
NASA Watch’s Keith Cowing, on Monday, reported that there were also some concerns from NASA that Trump’s campaign would attempt to do a tour of the center, raising concern about the agency’s logos appearing in campaign photos.
The idea that Trump would want to stage a visit to KSC is unsurprising — the man bills many of these campaign events around big spectacles and monuments. The opportunity for the Trump campaign to get a picture of its candidate next to a giant rocket engine or hanger is more of the same.
What’s unclear, however, is to what extent Trump would be talking about KSC and the kinds of things that go on there — space launches. The Republican has been vocal in the past that he doesn’t believe in space as a big priority for the United States. In all likelihood, he would probably downsize NASA’s budget and minimize its work to a significant degree. And of course, it seems like Congress anticipated this possibility by passing an authorization bill that would bolster NASA’s Mars mission work against such cuts.
We won’t get a chance to hear Trump’s thoughts on that. This was perhaps the last opportunity for Trump to talk about what he envisions the future of space to be in the country. Neither he nor Hillary Clinton took advantage of the third debate’s prime opportunity to even mention how they intend to improve or reform space travel and exploration.
Back in 2012, he blamed President Barack Obama for “gutting” NASA. But again, that was four years ago, so who knows how he feels today.
Trump has also appropriated images of NASA’s space exploration for his own campaign ads, as The Atlantic wisely observed in August:
Perhaps most egregiously, we missed the chance for Trump to stand next to a giant rocket and tell us “It’s YUUUUUUUUUUGE.”