In a speech that lauded American heroes and the military, President Trump gave a shout out to retired NASA flight controller Gene Kranz and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He also promised that Americans would return to the moon and then later plant the American flag on Mars.
Trump stated, according to Roll Call, “We’re going back to the moon. And someday soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars.”
President Trump has made a return to the moon and an eventual human expedition to Mars one of his signature policies. Initially, the year of the next moon landing was scheduled to be 2028. However, earlier this year, the “first woman and the next man” to walk on the moon was advanced to 2024. The mandate has lit a fire under NASA and its commercial partners. However, the question remains whether or not Congress, especially the Democratic House, will appropriate the money to pay for the program, dubbed Artemis, after the sister of the Greek god Apollo.
Some Democrats have grumbled that Trump wants to hold the next moon landing in 2024 because it would be the last year of his second term. Democrats have traditionally been killjoys when it comes to America in space. Democratic senators such as William Proxmire, Walter Mondale, and, ironically, Teddy Kennedy fought against the Apollo program. Rep Bob Traxler, a Democrat from Michigan, tried to kill the project that eventually became the International Space Station. President Barack Obama killed the last attempt to return to the moon, Project Constellation.
Even today, Rep Lizzie Fletcher, a Democrat from Texas, won her seat by attacking her predecessor’s support for the Europa Clipper mission and an important telescope designed, in part, to detect Earth-approaching asteroids. The war on science and space exploration is a long tradition for Democrats, eschewing the new frontier optimism of President John F. Kennedy.
Democrats had attacked the very idea of a 4th of July celebration headlined by President Trump. They suggested that he was doing it to burning his own glory. They also objected to displays of military hardware, including static displays of tanks and the flyovers of aircraft.
Having set up the Democrats by inciting them to carp and criticize, President Trump delivered an inspirational, inspiring speech that may count as the best of his political career. He noted American heroes such as the Wright Brothers and Clara Barton. He touched on events such as the civil rights struggle and America’s wars.
The best part was the flyovers. Trump-related the history of each branch of the service. Then, as a choral sang the song of each branch, aircraft flew overhead. The crowds, which stretched from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, numbering perhaps the in millions, enjoyed the show tremendously. The only disappointment was that nothing from the president’s soon to be formed Space Force flew overhead.
The Democrats had fallen into Trump’s trap, as they seem to do periodically. They predicted something resembling a balcony speech by a third world tyrant and instead they got an inspirational, patriotic paean to America, her history, and her greatness that might have come from the lips of JFK or Ronald Reagan. It was a wondrous feat of political jujitsu.
While Democrats were harping on the imaginary politicization of Trump’s 4th of July speech, many of them had descended on Iowa to mix politics and America’s birthday for real. None got quite the crows that the president got, but Joe Biden made some news by getting heckled. The Washington Examiner explains:
“As current primary front-runner Joe Biden jogged down the town’s 2nd Street, he was met with cheers from supporters, as well as mockery from some critics.
‘Where’s your walker?’ one spectator yelled, as others around him jeered ‘Trump, Trump’ when Biden passed by.
“Another approached Biden, 76, during the parade and exclaimed ‘Sleepy Joe!’ President Trump’s derisive moniker, before the former vice president asked him to join him in a jog. The man declined.”
When President Trump hears of Biden’s sad experience, the shouts of perhaps more than a million people still ringing in his ears, he will likely sit back with his diet coke, and crack a smile. For a president who has so many enemies, life is good.