President Donald Trump made Space Force official, but that might have been hard to tell at first from Tuesday in the Oval Office, as the chief executive held court on several satellite issues.
“During my administration, we’re doing so much in space. We need it,” Trump said, surrounded by military brass as he signed a directive establishing Space Force within the Air Force.
But before the president even got to the reason for Tuesday’s event, he uttered nearly 400 words describing a constellation of diplomatic successes with North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un.
“I had a great conversation this morning with President Moon of South Korea,” Trump said of South Korean leader Moon Jae-in. “And we obviously discussed the upcoming trip next week, where we’re going to Hanoi, in Vietnam. And I look forward to be with Chairman Kim, and I think a lot of things will come out of it.”
It wasn’t just Trump who drifted off topic.
Reporters peppered the president with questions about trade with China, Bernie Sanders’ presidential run, North Korea and what he might have discussed with his acting attorney general about the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
“I wish Bernie well. It will be interesting to see how he does,” Trump said of his fellow New York native, before expounding on one of his favorite topics, the 2016 election.
“I think what happened to Bernie maybe was not so nice. I think he was taken advantage of. He ran great four years ago, and he was not treated with respect by [Hillary Clinton.] And that was too bad. I thought what happened to Bernie Sanders four years ago was quite sad as it pertains to our country. So we’ll see how he does,” Trump said.
“You’ve got a lot of people running, but only one person is going to win. I hope you know who that person is,” Trump said as he ended the event.
At least one public official wanted to focus on space. Before Trump was done talking, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he would be asking the president to fill in blank space on the Space Coast, where Cape Canaveral is located.
“Today, I am formally sending a request to @realDonaldTrump to place the headquarters for the Space Force Combatant Command here in Florida @NASAKennedy in Cape Canaveral,” DeSantis tweeted. “This is part of Florida’s history and is a logical fit for our state,” said the governor, a former Republican congressman.
Today, I am formally sending a request to @realDonaldTrump to place the headquarters for the Space Force Combatant Command here in Florida @NASAKennedy in Cape Canaveral. This is part of Florida's history and is a logical fit for our state.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 19, 2019
And Space Force, a familiar chant at Trump rallies, perhaps got the ultimate validation over the weekend, when a verified @realspaceforce account appeared — to flog a parody story about the future star fleet.
The account was created to preview a Netflix show from the creative team behind the U.S. version of “The Office,” star Steve Carell and showrunner Greg Daniels.
The preview features the tune of “Thus Spake Zarathustra” (aka the “2001: A Space Odyssey” theme) while images and words are superimposed over an image of the sun rising over Earth (more lifting from “2001”).
From the guys that brought you The Office. Welcome to Space Force. pic.twitter.com/cbPnDCVfCp— Space Force (@realspaceforce) January 16, 2019
“On June 18, 2018, the federal government announced the creation of a sixth major division of the United States armed forces,” the words read. “The goal of the new branch is ‘to defend satellites from attack’ and ‘perform other space-related tasks.’ Or something.” the preview says.
“This is the story of the men and women who have to figure it out.”
Perhaps they could get their b-roll from C-SPAN.