The right-of-center crowd is having a field day with comments NASA’s intrepid administrator, Charles, made during a lengthy sit-down interview with Al Jazeera during his trip to Cairo, Egypt, last month.
Bolden told the Doha, Qatar-headquartered news channel this his “foremost” mission as the head of NASA is to improve relations with what he termed “dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science.”
Bolden’s comments were deemed newsworthy by Fox News, the New York Post, San Francisco Examiner and a host of right-wing bloggers. The cantankerous columnist Charles Krauthammer let Bolden have it during a July 5 appearance on Fox News.
“This is a new height in fatuousness,” Krauthammer said. “NASA was established to get America into space and to keep us there. This idea to feel good about their past and to make achievements is the worst combination of group therapy, psychobabble, imperial condescension and adolescent diplomacy.”
Krauthammer said Bolden should be fired, assuming he wasn’t told by Obama to make such comments.
Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin was likewise critical of Bolden’s settlement, telling FoxNews.com in a follow-up story that it’s not NASA’s job “to inspire Muslims or any other cultural entity.”
White House spokesman Nick Shapiro told FoxNews.com that Bolden’s statements were consistent with the Obama administration’s call for greater international cooperation in space.
“Bob Jacobs, NASA’s assistant administrator for public affairs, echoed that point. However, he said that Bolden was speaking of priorities when it came to ‘outreach’ and not about NASA’s primary missions of ‘science, aeronautics and space exploration.’ He said the ‘core mission’ is exploration and that it was unfortunate Bolden’s comments are now being viewed through a ‘partisan prism.’”