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U.S. President Donald Trump looks up toward the Solar Eclipse on the Truman Balcony at the White House on August 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump looks up toward the Solar Eclipse on the Truman Balcony at the White House on August 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Poverty Rampant, Puerto Rico Destroyed, Single Payer "Too Expensive," and Flint Still Doesn't Have Clean Water. But You Can Have Space Force!

Trump channels Jim Crow era in announcing more militarized space

Andrea Germanos

President Donald Trump made the demand for more weapons sound not only ridiculous but also implicitly racist on Monday when he announced a new branch of the military—Space Force.

Speaking at a White House meeting of the National Space Council, Trump declared, "My administration is reclaiming America's heritage as the world's greatest space-faring nation," and said he urged his "administration to embrace the budding commercial space industry."

"When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. So important," he said.

As the U.S. Air Force Space Command currently manages military operations in space, he said, "We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force—separate but equal. It is going to be something. So important," he said.

"Separate but equal" is the rationale on which Jim Crow laws rested for decades, so it was a noteworthy choice of words for an administration facing global outcry over its cruel immigration policies that some argue are rooted in racism.

Trump also joked that an individual making it to Mars before the U.S. would be acceptable "as long as it's an American rich person, that's good."

A Space Force is not a new idea, and Trump himself mentioned the idea of such of a military branch in March, though the administration was against a similar proposal last year. For his part, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said last year he opposed creating a new branch of military for space, though he also said last month he wants "to make the military more lethal in outer space."

Some took to social media to denounce the directive as merely a distraction from the swelling outrage directed at the administration's policy to rip children away from their asylum-seeking parents and send them to prisons. Others, meanwhile, noted the contrast of the administration being willing to spend money on a new branch of military while lawmakers claim a single-payer healthcare system would be too expensive, and Puerto Rico is still clamoring to get necessary resources following Hurricane Maria.

Of course, as author Belén Fernández recently argued, the U.S. government has consistently prioritized "the health of the arms industry over the health of the humans that are allegedly being defended from ubiquitous foreign nemeses, only to languish in sickness and poverty at home."

She further posited that "Trump's latest mission to convert outer space into a proper 'war-fighting domain' would seem to fit in rather nicely with mankind's valiant quest to destroy itself."


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