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House Republican to bring Bill Nye to Trump's State of the Union

House Republican to bring Bill Nye to Trump's State of the Union
© Keren Carrion

Celebrated children's TV show host and outspoken environmentalist Bill Nye "The Science Guy" will attend this year's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., as guest of Rep. Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineOvernight Energy: Outdoor retailer Patagonia makes first Senate endorsements | EPA withdraws Obama uranium milling rule | NASA chief sees 'no reason' to dismiss UN climate report NASA chief: ‘No reason to dismiss’ recent UN climate report Russian Soyuz rocket failure leaves NASA with no ride to International Space Station MORE (R-Okla.). 

“Bill Nye has been inspiring countless young people to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math since before we used STEM as an acronym. Our country needs these disciplines now more than ever," Bridenstine said in a statement.

Nye has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration, calling it the "anti-science movement."

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"If we were talking about climate change the way we discuss whatever happened in Niger or the president's extraordinary tweet of today, we would be doing something about it," Nye told Time magazine in October.

Bridenstine's pick of Nye may also be sending a message about his own ambitions. The congressman is Trump's nominee to head NASA. Bridenstine's nomination was sent after a narrow committee vote to the full Senate in the fall, but a vote has not yet occurred.

His nomination met heavy criticism, including from his own party, for Bridenstine's lack of formal science education.

"I just think it could be devastating for the space program. Obviously, being from Florida, I'm very sensitive to anything that slows up NASA and its mission," GOP Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Meghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family The Memo: Saudi storm darkens for Trump MORE (Fla.) told Politico in September. "I would hate to see an administrator held up — on (grounds of) partisanship, political arguments, past votes, or statements made in the past — because the agency can't afford it and it can't afford the controversy."

Nye said he is "pleased" to attend the address with Bridenstine.

"I have enjoyed a productive working relationship with Congressman Bridenstine on space issues," he said in a statement. “At the State of the Union address, I hope to hear the president present plans for an ambitious, science-driven space exploration agenda. Space exploration brings out the best in us. It brings the nation together as we solve problems that have never been solved before and learn more about the cosmos and our place within it.”

Trump's first State of the Union address is on Jan. 30.