American icon and legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin stood right beside Donald Trump as the president of the United States talked about space.
Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, attended the event in which the Trump administration re-established the National Space Council. Trump signed a new executive order that gives life to the council 24 years after it was disbanded.
Trump gave a short talk about the importance of the executive order and of space, in general, during the press conference. Trump started by boasting that the United States will be “leading again like we never led before.” He then suggested that the country, “a nation of pioneers,” will own all of space by calling it the “next great American frontier.”
Aldrin, who was listening intently to Trump, was clearly baffled by some of the things the president said. Trump explained that “space exploration is not only essential to our character as a nation but also our economy and our great nation’s security.” Things got confusing after Trump stressed that “our travels beyond the Earth” and the scientific discoveries that come with it not only help improve lives and power new industries but are also vital in “providing the space security we need to protect the American people. And security is gonna be a very big factor with respect to space and space exploration.”
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) June 19, 2017
HuffPost noted that Aldrin raised his eyebrows, squinted, and gave the president a puzzled look right after Trump said, “At some point in the future we’ll look back and say, ‘How did we do it without space?'”
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) July 4, 2017
But perhaps the most bewildering part of the event was when Trump was about to sign the executive order.
“We know what this is, space,” Trump said. “That’s all it has to say: space.”
The president then looked at Aldrin and asked him, “There’s a lot of room out there, right?”
To which Aldrin answered, “To infinity, and beyond.”
Trump must have missed the joke despite the rest of the people gathered near him laughing at how Aldrin alluded to Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear, one of the film franchise’s main characters who was named after him.
“This is infinity here. It could be infinity. We don’t really don’t know. But it could be. It has to be something – but it could be infinity, right?”
Aldrin was not the only astronaut to witness the momentous event. David Wolf, a retired astronaut, and Benjamin Alvin Drew, a current astronaut, were introduced along with Aldrin. A female astronaut, Sandy Magnus, was also at the Oval Office but was not introduced by Trump or by Vice President Mike Pence, according to AOL News. Magnus is serving as the executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
According to Quartz, Pence was a staunch critic of NASA back in 2005 when he tried to shut down the agency’s space exploration program to save $44 billion over a period of 10 years. Ironically, the vice president will now be the head of the new space council, which will also have representatives from the Trump cabinet, the private sector, and from NASA, among its members.
Of course, Twitter exploded with reactions to Trump’s confusing speech and Aldrin’s scene-stealing facial expressions.
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) July 2, 2017
A rather deep exchange between Trump and Buzz Aldrin at the signing of the Executive Order on the National Space Council today…???? pic.twitter.com/Vwu5V3pQcd
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) June 30, 2017
Other Twitter users called out Trump and Pence for not recognizing Magnus and her contributions.
Pence and Trump talked about the "3" astronauts in the room: Wolf, Drew & Aldrin.
But there were 4 – Sandy Magnus, standing right there.
— Marcia Smith (@SpcPlcyOnline) June 30, 2017
Buzz Aldrin himself took to Twitter to express his delight for the return of the National Space Council.
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) July 1, 2017
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]