During a three-day tour through Florida, Donald Trump promised to bring aerospace and technology jobs to the state’s beleaguered Space Coast.
The economy of Titusville, Florida, and the surrounding area, also known as the Space Coast, was hit hard when Congress cut much of NASA’s budget in 2011 and eliminated the iconic shuttle program.
At a rally Tuesday in Central Florida—in between promising to repeal Obamacare, claiming all media reporters are corrupt, and reiterating his claim that he’ll build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border—Trump promised to increase federal investments in the nation’s space program.
The Space Coast lost about 9,000 jobs when Congress shuttered the shuttle program, according to Workforce Brevard. Trump hit on that point hard and promised to expand public-private partnerships that could bring those jobs back.
“Under a Trump administration, Florida and America will lead the way into the stars,” he said.
Trump also blamed the president and democratic presidential Hillary Clinton for those lost jobs—but it’s worth noting the decision to end the shuttle program in 2011 was made during President George W. Bush’s administration. (The space shuttle program was intended to last 15 years but lasted 30 years. It was scheduled to end when the International Space Station was complete in 2010.)
“Over the last eight years, the Obama-Clinton administration has undermined our space program tremendously. That will change,” he told those at the rally.
Trump hinted that NASA’s role, at least in terms of rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, have been limited to sending supplies to the International Space Station and putting companies’ satellites in orbit.
“I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistics agency for low-earth orbit activity. Big deal. Instead, we will refocus its mission on space exploration,” Trump said.
His comments start around 38 minutes:
Here's the full transcript of those statements:
“Under my plan, not only will we modernize our Navy’s cruisers, but we’ll also invest in the technologies of the future being developed right here in Central Florida. My plan also includes major investments in space exploration also right here. You know what we call this place. Over the last eight years, the Obama-Clinton administration has undermined our space program tremendously. That will change. So many good things come out of it, including great jobs, and it will change very quickly under a Trump administration. And it’ll change before it’s too late. You ever see what’s going on with space? With Russia and different places and us? We’re like watching. Isn’t that nice? So much is learned from that, too. As a cornerstone of my policy, we will substantially expand public-private partnerships to maximize the amount of investment and funding that is available for space exploration and development. This means launching and operating major space assets right here that employ thousands and spur innovation and fuel economic growth. I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistics agency for low-earth orbit activity. Big deal. Instead, we will refocus its mission on space exploration. Under a Trump administration, Florida and America will lead the way into the stars. With a victory in November, everything will change.”
But don't forget, Trump had not addressed space pretty much until this rally, as Becky Ferreira pointed out earlier this year in her presidential report card:
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