President Donald Trump praised NASA and SpaceX for a successful launch minutes after he watched the Falcon 9 rocket take flight in Florida on Saturday.
“I’m so proud of the people, of NASA, public and private. When you see a sight like that, it’s incredible,” Trump said. “When you hear that sound — the roar — you can imagine how dangerous it is.”
Trump also had praise for SpaceX founder Elon Musk, calling him a “great brain.” He also said the launch could be a symbol of recovery for Americans suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic as lockdown measures ease across the country.
“I think this is such a great inspiration for our country. Our country is doing well … We suffered something that was terrible. It should have never happened — it should have never come out of China,” Trump said. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be here today and I think any one of you would say that was an inspiration to see what we just saw.”
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 30, 2020
The SpaceX rocket will take astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, but the company and NASA also plan on returning American astronauts to the moon and being the first to reach Mars. (RELATED: George Floyd Protests In Washington DC Throw White House Into Brief Lockdown)
Musk has found common ground with Trump throughout the pandemic, as both have emphasized the need to reopen world economies and criticized local and state leaders who have been slow to do so.
Musk threatened to move his Tesla automaker plant out of California due to the state’s social distancing rules, leading to tweets from Trump supporting the move, according to Fox News.