President Trump on Monday spoke with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson to congratulate her after she set the U.S. record for the most cumulative days in space.
The president called Whitson from the Oval Office, sitting alongside his daughter Ivanka Trump and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins.
“I want to say that this is a very special day in the glorious history of American space flight,” the president said at the start of the call.
“Today, Commander Whitson, you have broken the record for the most total time spent in space by an American astronaut, 534 days and counting. That’s an incredible record to break and on behalf of our nation and frankly, on behalf of the world, I’d like to congratulate you.”
Trump went on to question Whitson about how it feels to have broken such a “big and important record.”
“It’s actually a huge honor to break a record like this but it’s an honor for me, basically, to be representing all the folks at NASA who make the space flight possible and who make me setting this record feasible,” she said in response.
“And so it’s very exciting time to be at NASA…I’m so proud of the team.
Trump also asked Whitson about what she is learning from being in space. Whitson said the International Space Station is providing a “key bridge from us doing — living on Earth to going somewhere into deep space.”
During the call, the president addressed the timeline for placing humans on Mars, saying he wants to speed up the timeline to get it done “at worst, during my second term.”
“I have great respect for you folks, it’s amazing what you do,” he said.
Trump indicated, however, that some of the trials of living in space still make it less than enviable.
“Water is such a precious resource up here that we also are cleaning up our urine and making it drinkable. And it’s really not as bad as it sounds,” Whitson said.
“Well that’s good, I’m glad to hear that,” Trump responded. “Better you than me.”
“Better you than me,” President Trump says when Peggy Whitman tells him they are purifying urine for drinking water https://t.co/yGc7PryhVa
— CNN (@CNN) April 24, 2017
–The Hill, Rebecca Savranasky