It's not the first time that President Trump has been seemingly mystified or excited or shocked by something that's been going on for a long time. Remember that "nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated" moment?
But on Thursday, in this video released by CNBC, the leader of the free world can be seen referencing SpaceX's launch of their new Falcon Heavy rocket...
In the video, he talks about the incredible things that NASA is doing, saying...
"NASA’s making tremendous strides, and we’re using a lot of private money. A lot of people that — they love rockets, and they’re rich..."
Of course, back in January, Trump proposed a budget for NASA that would slash the funding for the International Space Station in its entirety beginning in 2025, which would, in effect, ground American astronauts until we were able to develop our own vehicles that could take them into deep space. But now, of course, since the President doesn't often have a coherent and consistent message on... well... anything, he seems to be changing his tune.
However, it's the President's comments on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch that are really drawing attention...
"I don’t know if you saw last with Elon with the rocket boosters where they’re coming back down. To me, that was more amazing than watching the rocket go up because I’ve never seen that before; nobody’s seen that before, where they’re saving the boosters and they came back without wings, without anything. They landed so beautifully."
The hyperbole President seems not to know that SpaceX has been using this landing technique for years.
According to Mashable...
"The company first landed a Falcon 9 rocket booster back on land in Cape Canaveral in 2015, following up that landing with another landing — this time on a drone ship in the ocean — in 2016 after years of failed attempts."
They went on to explain that, in fact, SpaceX's entire business model is based partially on the idea that these rocket booster landings could majorly cut down on the cost of space travel.
Tellingly, when Trump talks about private/public partnership when it comes to space travel, he's echoing a Republican hope that private industry will take over the further development of space travel, thus allowing the government to wind down support and funding for NASA. In fact, SpaceX is one of the very companies that Republicans hope will take on the reigns of funding the United States' part of the International Space Station come 2025.
Many were dumbfounded by the President's... um... intelligence?
It's amazing how he still manage to surprise me how stupid he is even after whole year as your president.— Josef Janoušek (@JJJandak) March 8, 2018
Someone enroll the President in remedial high school economics 101 post haste please.— Adam (@mycroft16) March 8, 2018
Others were trying to decipher President Trump's word salad of a sentence...
What’s the context of “they’re going to be a little less rich probably”? I’m confused.— Everyday Astronaut (@Erdayastronaut) March 8, 2018
I think he was referring to "the rich people" and their flexibility to spend a portion of their wealth on rocketry?— Emre Kelly (@EmreKelly) March 8, 2018
I think this is in relationship to the tariffs on steel that could raise prices on certain products...— Daniel (@Inoeth999) March 8, 2018
When will people learn, there is no deeper meaning to anything the President says. He speaks off the cuff and makes it up as he goes along.