Comedians, pundits weigh in on Trump’s “Space Force”

"What a great idea," Trump opined, to have a "Space Force" — whatever that means

By Nicole Karlis

Senior Writer

Published March 14, 2018 6:48PM (EDT)

Donald Trump addresses troops at Miramar Marine Corp Air Station. (Getty/Sandy Huffaker)
Donald Trump addresses troops at Miramar Marine Corp Air Station. (Getty/Sandy Huffaker)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… an American president suggested that a galactic military was needed to fight wars in space. He called it Space Force. It sounds like the opening crawl of a bad "Stars Wars" parody, but no; unfortunately, it’s another one of Donald Trump’s hare-brained ideas that the president semi-coherently name-dropped in a speech at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Tuesday.

“Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea,” Trump said. “We may even have a Space Force, develop another one, Space Force. We have the Air Force, we’ll have the Space Force.”

Trump told the crowd that the idea first started as a joke, but then he quickly realized it was “a great idea.”

"I said, 'maybe we need a new force, we'll call it the Space Force,' and I was not really serious. Then I said, 'what a great idea,' maybe we'll have to do that," he said.

"So think of that, Space Force," Trump explained, "because we are spending a lot and we have a lot of private money coming in, tremendous. You saw what happened the other day, and tremendous success. From the very beginning, many of our astronauts have been soldiers and air men, coast guard men and marines. And our service members will be vital to ensuring America continues to lead the way into the stars."

The remarks have elicited many comments on the internet — some from wise guys like Stephen Colbert, and others from skeptical pundits outraged at the absurdity of the idea.

"March for Science" organizers asked a good question: ”Instead of the #SpaceForce, maybe we can get some funding back for NASA's education program?”

As unintelligible as the "space force" is, Trump’s remarks illustrate how disordered his priorities appear to be: fighting nonexistent space wars rank higher in his consciousness than, say, combatting what’s more likely to destroy Earth — say, climate change.

Still, Trump is not alone in his desire to emulate science fiction. Indeed, this is not the first time politicians have brought up this idea. According to CNN, the idea of a Space Corps was proposed to be included in a $700 billion bipartisan defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act. The proposal did not make it into the bill, but Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., and former Michigan Republican Rep. Mike Rogers released a joint statement advocating for it.

"The Air Force will no longer be able to treat space as a third-order priority after fighter jets and bombers," the statement said. "We have consolidated leadership and coordination between operations, acquisition and training, and eliminated the decentralized and ineffective structure that for too long hampered our space capabilities and readiness."

By Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon, specializing in health and science. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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