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Florida Sens. Rubio, Nelson Skeptical of Trump's Pick for NASA

03 September 2017

If confirmed by the Senate, Bridenstine would play a key role in Trump's plans to add human exploration of Mars to NASA's mission.

Rubio, though, said he does not hold the comments against Bridenstine a former Navy pilot who has served as director of Tulsa's Air and Space Museum.

Bridenstine's name was originally thrown into the hat for NASA administrator shortly after Trump won the election. Marco Rubio of Florida, who told Politico he would prefer an administrator who has the "respect of the people who work there from a leadership and even a scientific perspective".

"It's the one federal mission which has largely been free of politics and it's at a critical juncture in its history".

Bridenstine, a member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee of the House of Representatives, has always been rumored to be Trump's choice to run NASA - and the pick is already attracting criticism from some quarters. U.S. must prepare for a decade of tensions, North Korea nuclear tests Trump's tough new sanctions will harm the people of Venezuela MORE (R-Fla.) told Politico.

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The Oklahoma Republican criticized Rubio during the 2016 GOP presidential primary, including in advertising for one of Rubio's rivals, Texas Sen.

The other Florida senator, Bill Nelson, a Democrat, concurred with Rubio telling Politico: "The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician".

Republican Rep. Jim Bridenstine, who now serves on the Science, Space and Technology Committee, famously called for former President Barack Obama to apologize for allocating funding to climate change research.

In a statement, Lightfoot said he was "pleased to have Rep. Bridenstine nominated to lead our team".

It remains unclear whether the two senators will vote for or against Bridenstine.

Florida Sens. Rubio, Nelson Skeptical of Trump's Pick for NASA