Trump takes credit for billionaires' race to space

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE in an interview on Sunday took credit for the space race between billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosIt's time for US to get serious about cleaning up space junk Press: Give those unemployed writers a job! Progressive group launches M ad campaign to call for tax hikes on the rich MORE, claiming the creation of the Space Force sparked it.

During Fox News's "Sunday Morning Futures," host Maria BartiromoMaria Sara BartiromoGraham says he'd 'leave town' to stop .5T spending plan The Memo: Trump pours gas on tribalism with Jan. 6 rewrite Trump: Tech giants 'immune from so many different things, but they're not immune from the lawsuit' MORE noted that Branson became the first billionaire to venture into space on Sunday and asked Trump what he had to say in response, adding that the Space Force was the first new military branch created since 1947.

"We're very proud of that," Trump said. "It was close to 75 years. It was the Air Force. And now we did Space Force, which is going to be so vital. And we not only did it. I mean, it's up and running and really great."

"Russia has it. And China has it. And they were way advanced over us. And I got it started," he said.

Bartiromo also asked Trump why he thinks billionaire business leaders are fixating on space, pointing to frequent Trump critic Bezos, who stepped down as Amazon CEO to concentrate on his aerospace company, Blue Origin.

"Better them than me," the former president said. "I would rather see Richard in the plane today than me, in the spaceship. ... Richard loves it, and Bezos loves it. And a lot of rich guys love space, OK? You will explain that someday. But they do love space."

"They love sending rocket ships up. And I made it possible for them to do this. I actually said to my people, 'Let the private sector do it,'" Trump continued.

"These guys want to come in with billions of dollars. Let's lease them facilities because, you know, you need certain facilities to send up rockets. And we have those facilities. We have the greatest facilities," he added.

"And now, because of what I did, we are leading the pack in space by far," he said.

Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, successfully returned to Earth after a trip to the edge of space that lasted around 90 minutes on the SpaceShipTwo Unity spaceplane.