NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine says he plans to step down if Biden takes office

Aaron Schwartz

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine will not lead the agency under President-elect Joe Biden, he said Sunday.

Bridenstine said in a lengthy interview with Aviation Week that the Biden administration would need a NASA chief who was “trusted” by the incoming president, adding that he was not that person.

“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?’ ” he told the news outlet.

“For that, what you need is somebody who has a close relationship with the president of the United States. You need somebody who is trusted by the administration, if there is a new administration, you need someone who is trusted by the new administration, that includes [the Office of Management and Budget], it includes the National Space Council and it includes the National Security Council, and I think that I would not be the right person for that in a new administration,” Bridenstine added. 

“We’ve had a lot of success, but it’s because of relationships,” the NASA director continued. “You have to have those relationships. 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.”

Representatives for NASA added that as a political appointee, Bridenstine’s exit at the end of a presidential administration would not be uncommon.

President Trump has refused to concede the 2020 election while vowing legal challenges in several states. Multiple news networks projected Saturday that Biden would secure Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, thereby securing the presidency.

The NASA chief was appointed in late 2017 by Trump to head up the U.S.’s space exploration agency, making him one of the longest-serving agency heads in the Trump administration.

This article was corrected to note that Bridenstine has not taken a position on the disputed results of the 2020 election.

Tags 2020 election Donald Trump Jim Bridenstine Joe Biden NASA

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