Sen. Patty Murray Opposes Bridenstine Nomination to Run NASA

Rep. Jim Bridenstine

With his confirmation hearing for the post of NASA administrator scheduled for Nov. 1, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) is facing opposition from Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) over his opposition to climate change research and “bigoted and hateful statements” he has made about gays, Muslims and women.

“Rep. Bridenstine’s background makes him an extremely concerning choice to lead this critical agency and its 19,000 diverse employees,” Murray wrote in a three-page letter released today.

“Rep. Bridenstine’s denial of climate change and consistent opposition to equal rights for women, immigrants, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals should disqualify him from consideration,” Given his very public statements and positions, its clear Rep. Bridenstine would move us backwards not forwards, and I urge you to vote against his nomination.”

The letter, send to Senate Science Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and ranking member Bill Nelson (D-FL), cited multiple examples of Bridenstine’s public attacks on climate change and LGBTQ rights.

The examples included a June 2013 speech in which Bridenstine claimed global temperatures had stopped rising 10 years earlier, and a March 2013 tweet in which he “failed to recognize the difference between local weather conditions and the broader planetary climate, a basic scientific concept.”

“Given that NASA’s fiscal year 2018 budget requested $1.8 billion for Earth-observing and climate science missions, Rep. Bridenstine’s failure to accept fundamental scientific truths about Earth’s climate make him an ill-suited and dangerous choice to lead the agency,” Murray wrote.

In addition to opposing LBGTQ rights, Murray says that Bridenstine has a “history of supporting anit-Muslim groups and has consistently defended a number of President Trump’s discriminatory and unconstitutional policies on immigration, including the thrice-struck down Muslim Travel Ban.”

Murray also cited the Congressman’s vote against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and his defense of Donald Trump after a recording surfaced in which the then-candidate boasted of sexually assaulting women.

“Rep. Bridenstine actively downplayed the comments and criticized individuals who condemned them,” Murray wrote. “On multiple occasions when provided with the opportunity to reject President Trump’s comments, Rep. Bridenstine instead said they amounted to nothing more than ‘locker room talk’.”

Sen. Nelson and fellow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio have criticized Trump’s decision to nominate a politician to lead the nation’s civilian space agency.