Bill Nye is going to Trump's State of the Union speech — and people aren't happy about it

The science advocate is attending as a guest of Trump's pick to lead NASA, whose nomination has been controversial

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 30, 2018 11:44AM (EST)

Bill Nye   (Getty/Noam Galai)
Bill Nye (Getty/Noam Galai)

Bill Nye the Science Guy is attending President Donald Trump's 2018 State of the Union address — and many of the science advocate's fans are none too happy about it.

Nye has been invited as a guest of Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., who was nominated by Trump to take over NASA. Although Bridenstine has been a staunch denier of climate change throughout his political career, he reversed course and acknowledged that it has contributed to global warming, although he has stopped short of admitting that it's the primary cause.

A petition to convince Nye to reverse his decision to attend the State of the Union address is 55 signatures away from its goal of 35,000.

"President Donald Trump is a bigoted climate denier. So is Congressman Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., Trump's embattled nominee for NASA Administrator. So why is Bill Nye 'very pleased' to be Bridenstine's guest at Trump's first State of the Union address?" the petition declared.

It added, "Bill, please be the Science Guy, not the Bigoted Climate Denial Guy."

Nye made it clear when accepting Bridenstine's invitation that he did so in order to advance the agenda of the Planetary Society, an NGO founded by popular scientist Carl Sagan that promotes human exploration of space.

"The congressman is the nominee to be the next Administrator of NASA, and as I often say, NASA is the best brand the United States has. At the State of the Union address, I hope to hear the President present plans for an ambitious, science-driven space exploration agenda. Space exploration brings out the best in us. It brings the nation together as we solve problems that have never been solved before and learn more about the cosmos and our place within it," Nye explained in a statement to Quartz about his willingness to be Bridenstine's guest.

He also explained his reasoning on Twitter.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Bill Nye Climate Change Donald Trump Global Warming Jim Bridenstine Nasa