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Senator Murray: Bridenstine’s “failure to accept fundamental scientific truths about Earth’s climate” & “history of hateful, demeaning, and divisive comments” make him unfit to lead U.S. civil space program

Floor speech follows Senator Murray’s previous efforts to highlight Representative Bridenstine’s lack of commitment to science, consistent opposition to equal rights for LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, & women

ICYMI: Top Democrat Rips Trump’s ‘Dangerous’ Pick To Lead NASA – Huffington Post 

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE***

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) voiced her strong opposition to Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), President Trump’s pick to lead the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and urged her colleagues to join her in voting against his nomination. Citing Representative Bridenstine’s lack of scientific background or expertise, in addition to his denial of climate science and his long record of divisive comments and positions regarding Muslims, LGBTQ equality, and violence against women, Senator Murray underlined NASA’s core focus as an agency committed to science and highlighted the importance of instilling leadership at NASA that can realize the full potential of the nation’s civil space program.

Senator Murray previously called attention to Representative Bridenstine’s background last October, and urged her colleagues then to vote against his nomination.

Key Excerpts from Senator Murray’s floor speech:

“NASA is an agency committed to science, exploration, technology, and innovation. Over the years, it has employed some of the most brilliant scientists in the world—focused on the most cutting edge research, with an eye toward exploring new frontiers, expanding human knowledge, and increasing our understanding of this world and beyond. […] Without a commitment to science, NASA would not have succeeded. And if that commitment doesn’t continue, it will fail.”

“That is why I am very concerned that Rep. Bridenstine not only is not committed to science—he flat out rejects clear scientific consensus […] I believe that Rep. Bridenstine’s failure to accept fundamental scientific truths about Earth’s climate make him an ill-suited and dangerous choice to lead an agency with science at its core.”

“Second, M. President, is my concern about his ability to lead an inclusive and forward-looking agency, given his history of hateful, demeaning, and divisive comments and positions. I have noted this before, but it bears repeating. Rep. Bridenstine has openly expressed his opposition to the rights of LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and women […] Rep. Bridenstine is not someone who should be put in charge of NASA’s diverse workforce.”

“[A]t a moment in our history when we want every student in this country to dream big dreams, strive for the highest goals, and explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math—regardless of where they are from, who they love, or what color their skin is sending someone like Rep. Bridenstine to lead our nation’s space agency would send the absolute wrong signal, and move our country in the absolute wrong direction.”

Watch video of Senator Murray’s floor speech below or HERE.

Senator Murray urges her colleagues to reject Representative Jim Bridenstine’s nomination as NASA Administrator on April 18, 2018.

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech below:

“M. President, I want to briefly comment on another nominee being considered by the Senate today.

“M. President, since Representative Bridenstine was nominated to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, I have expressed strong and serious concerns.

“And I come to the floor today to once again call on my colleagues to reject this nomination, and to call on President Trump to send us a nominee worthy of the great legacy and incredible potential of our civil space program.

“M. President, my deep concerns with Rep. Bridenstine fall in two categories: first, his fitness for leadership of an agency seeped in science, given his clear lack of understanding of basic scientific issues, and second, his ability to lead an inclusive and forward-looking agency, given his history of hateful, demeaning, and divisive comments and positions.

“First, on his fitness to lead this agency.

“M. President, NASA is an agency committed to science, exploration, technology, and innovation.

“Over the years, it has employed some of the most brilliant scientists in the world—focused on the most cutting edge research…

“…with an eye toward exploring new frontiers, expanding human knowledge, and increasing our understanding of this world—and beyond.

“It was this commitment to science and innovation that allowed NASA to catch up with the Russians and launch a satellite into space.

“It was this openness to innovation that allowed NASA to cast humanity’s eyes, with greater clarity than ever before, far beyond our solar system with the launch of the Hubble Telescope.

“It was this focus on innovation and exploration that allowed NASA to put a man on the moon—12 of them, in fact.

“And M. President, the list goes on and on.

“Without a commitment to science, NASA would not have succeeded.

“And if that commitment doesn’t continue, it will fail.

“So M. President, that is why I am very concerned that Rep. Bridenstine not only is not committed to science—he flat out rejects clear scientific consensus.

“As I have noted before, in a June 2013 speech delivered on the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Bridenstine repeated the debunked claim that “global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago.”

“And a March 2013 tweet from him failed to recognize the difference between local weather conditions and the broader planetary climate, a basic scientific concept.

“Those are just two examples, and this may be just one issue—but it is telling.

“And I believe that Rep. Bridenstine’s failure to accept fundamental scientific truths about Earth’s climate make him an ill-suited and dangerous choice to lead an agency with science at its core.

“Second, M. President, is my concern about his ability to lead an inclusive and forward-looking agency, given his history of hateful, demeaning, and divisive comments and positions.

“I have noted this before, but it bears repeating.

“Rep. Bridenstine has openly expressed his opposition to the rights of LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and women.

“In a May 2013 speech, he suggested that LGBTQ people were immoral, stating, “some of us in America still believe in the concept of sexual morality.”

“And in response to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in 2013, he stated that he would keep fighting for “traditional marriage.”

“Rep. Bridenstine has a history of supporting anti-Muslim groups and has consistently defended a number of President Trump’s discriminatory policies on immigration, including the Muslim Travel Ban.

“He defended President Trump’s comments about sexually assaulting women, saying they were “locker room talk.”

“He has gone on shows and stages to stand with bigots and racists—not to debate with them, but to agree with them.

“And M. President—the list goes on.

“Rep. Bridenstine is not someone who should be put in charge of NASA’s diverse workforce.

“In 2016, NASA announced that, for the first time, fully half of their new astronaut trainees are women.

“I mentioned before that NASA has sent 12 men to the moon—well, we may be on track for a woman to be the first American to plant her feet on Mars.

“And at a moment in our history when we want every student in this country to dream big dreams, strive for the highest goals, and explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math…

“… regardless of where they are from, who they love, or what color their skin is—

“…sending someone like Rep. Bridenstine to lead our nation’s space agency would send the absolute wrong signal, and move our country in the absolute wrong direction.

“So M. President, I will be voting against this nomination. And I will be strongly encouraging my colleagues to as well.”