Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine was not formally trained in science, is skeptical of climate change and has little large-scale administrative experience, but he gets excited when rockets go super-duper fast.
Apparently, this was all President Donald Trump needed to choose the Republican and former U.S. Navy pilot to head the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Bridenstine loves rockets so much that he once owned a team in the now-defunct Rocket Racing League (RRL), which pitted pilots of rocket-powered airplanes against each other on an aerial racecourse. RRL aspired to be NASCAR for rockets, but failed to take off.
Bridenstine’s infatuation with rocket racing was so great that he sucked a nonprofit dry in an attempt to fuel the half-baked league.
Bridenstine’s association with RRL has been no secret, but his use of money from the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, which he once led, to fund a one-off aerial exhibition for the league recently came to light through the congressman’s U.S. Senate vetting. Bridenstine’s appointment to the position was confirmed April 19 on a party-line vote because #MAGA.
According to The Daily Beast, the museum used its cash reserves to fund a 2010 air show. Billed as part of a World Exhibition Tour that never actually traveled, it was the first and only air show the museum held.
The show cost the museum $20,000 more than it made. The museum was $308,000 in debt in 2010, despite usually posting around $1 million in revenues.
Yeah, he shouldn’t have problems overseeing NASA’s $19.5 billion budget. Bridenstine was out as the museum’s executive director just months after the air show. RRL folded in 2012, the year Bridenstine was elected to Congress. Wow! What coincidental timing!
If Bridenstine’s skepticism of climate change is not enough of a disqualifier for NASA’s head position, his dubious track record with finances should have made “run it like a business” Republicans wary, but Trumpers gonna Trump.
Then again, who doesn’t love a little bread-and-circus pizzazz? With Bridenstine at the helm, Chicken-Fried News is sure the U.S. will be breaking the Millennium Falcon’s Kessel Run record in no time.