Despite NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s claim that President Obama told him it was NASA’s “foremost” mission to reach out to the Muslim world, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said today that this is not a NASA responsibility.
Bolden told Al-Jazeera in a recent interview that the president had asked him to ensure that members of the Muslim world “feel good about their historic contribution to science, and math and engineering.”
“That is not his task,” Gibbs said during a press briefing Monday. “And that’s not the task of NASA.”
The White House responded to criticism of Bolden’s remarks last week, saying that Obama had always called on NASA “to engage with the world’s best scientists and engineers.”
“Meeting that mandate requires NASA to partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries,” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said. “The space race began as a global competition, but, today, it is a global collaboration.”