NASA chief to step down when President-elect Biden takes office
The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Jim Bridenstine, is planning to step down from the position when Joe Biden becomes the President of the United States, said reports. The Trump-appointed NASA chief reportedly has no plans to continue in the top role at the American space agency even if he is asked to stay on. Here are more details.
Bridenstine, who was appointed as the NASA chief by outgoing President Donald Trump in 2018, said that he would be stepping down in the space agency's best interest under a Biden-led administration. He also reportedly said that even if Biden asks, he does not plan to continue as the NASA Administrator because the space agency will "need somebody who is trusted by the administration."
Bridenstine recently talked to Aerospace Daily about his plans to exit NASA when Biden takes office. On November 8, a day after Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 US presidential elections, he told the publication that he was taking the decision to make sure that NASA has the best chance to thrive under the new administration, and not for partisan reasons.
"The right question here is, 'What's in the best interest of NASA as an agency, and what's in the best interest of America's exploration program?'" Bridenstine was quoted as saying by the publication. "For that, what you need is somebody who has a close relationship with the President of the United States," added the NASA Administrator.
"You need somebody who is trusted by the administration...including the OMB [Office of Management and Budget], the National Space Council, and the National Security Council, and I think that I would not be the right person for that in a new administration," Bridenstine said.
Before being named as the chief of NASA, Bridenstine was a Republican Congressman who represented Oklahoma. "We've had a lot of success, but it's because of relationships. You have to have those relationships," he said. "Whoever the president is, they have to have somebody they know and trust and somebody the administration trusts. That person is not going to be me," the 45-year-old added.
Further, on his future plans, Bridenstine said, "I haven't even begun thinking about that." However, he added that he does plan to return to Oklahoma. "After you've run NASA, to go from doing this to whatever I do next is going to be really hard. This has been the greatest experience of my life by far, and I'm so grateful for it," he said.