Trump’s divisive pick to run NASA wins narrow confirmation

National / World
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President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media during a working lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Senate has narrowly confirmed President Donald Trump’s choice of a tea party congressman to run NASA. It’s an unprecedented party-line vote for the head of the normally nonpartisan space agency.

The vote was 50-49 to confirm Oklahoma Republican James Bridenstine, a Navy Reserve pilot. Bridenstine will be NASA’s 13th administrator.

Of his three predecessors, two were nominated by Republicans, and all won unanimous approval.

A procedural vote Wednesday initially ended in a 49-49 tie, before Arizona Republican Jeff Flake switched from opposing to supporting Bridenstine.

Democrats against Bridenstine dislike his outspoken divisiveness, his past rejection of mainstream climate change science and his lack of space experience. But republicans praised him as a war hero.

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