, 25 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter

I was going to thread about this tweet anyway, because it's a good example of Trump "running the government like *he* runs *his* businesses", but I can see people are having an understandably hard time even parsing it.

But this isn't bad astronomy. It's bad leadership.
As @ddale8 has pointed out - NASA, being a federal agency under the executive branch, has been taking its cues from the top when it comes to a planned moon mission. Trump and Pence have been pushing this.

Trump's the sort of boss who 100% won't stand for insubordination... but also won't stand for being obeyed, when the end result makes him look bad. You should have known better. You should have told him. He won't let you tell him. But you should have done it.
His DHS screaming matches have always shown shades of this - border apprehensions go up, he'll be furious that so many people are trying to cross. They go down, he'll be furious that we're not jailing enough people.
So he pushed NASA on the moon and now he's mad because it's been done and he feels like they're thinking small, he wants them to talk about Mars.

"And the moon is part of that" - what he means is, further missions to the moon are part of how we achieve that.
Which is doubtlessly something that someone at or near NASA told him, about why they would go back to the moon. That it would be a trial run or test bed for Martian missions.
So to sum up:

1. He wanted them to go the moon, because we used to do that when we were great.
2. He's mad they're going to the moon, that's been done, they should go to Mars instead.
3. But they should still go to the moon.
If you're looking at this and thinking, "So there's nothing they can do that would actually make him happy and prevent him from chewing them out.", you're correct! And that's the point! That's his leadership style. That's his communication style.
As I said earlier today, he enjoys when people are afraid and confused... desperate to please him in order to forestall the inevitable. He thinks that's how you get the best results out of underlings.

Aaaaand not to derail my own thread with a digression, but if you've ever looked at his father and his family life at all, you can see where he got that idea from.
And as I *also* said earlier today (this is all connected, all of it): Trump's communication style of spitting out contradictory things is part of how he grabs power while dodging accountability.

We've seen him contradict himself mid-sentence. The tweet that's got everyone talking goes "Stop talking about the moon, the moon is nothing, we're going to Mars, which means it's important we get to the moon."
And the thing is, there's more than one thing going into that, but part of it is, he fell into this as a strategy that works. Being strategically unhappy, solidly dissatisfied. It helps him avoid making concessions, paying debts, repaying favors, etc.

If he's ever satisfied with anything anyone gives him or does for him, he's cutting himself off from a lever he can use to extract further efforts from them.

He's unhappy because there's always more to take, and he keeps himself so in order to have a better shot at taking it.
Now, his phrasing in the tweet is hard to parse, and there's two of his habits there. One is that he starts cutting things out of a tweet for fit without thinking about what he's losing. Like he used to quite often abbreviate words down to a single letter, remember?
And the other is that he will just grab a handy noun to refer to something bigger and more complicated. Like when he says "Russia is a hoax" he doesn't mean the whole country is fake. So he's slapping the label "Mars" on everything involved in the whole idea of getting to Mars.
Anyway. Trump says a lot of things and will continue to say a lot of things. This is how he operates, and look how far it's taken him.
It isn't super important that we pin him down on the location and composition of celestial bodies but it is important that we don't lose sight of the way he plays with the truth, the way he manipulates narratives and uses whatever is useful in the moment.
As far as he's concerned, everybody is playing the same game and he's just playing it better, which is why he's been blase enough to explain to journalists that he calls them fake so he doesn't have to work as hard to discredit negative stories...
...or just say outright that polls and numbers that help him are real while ones that hurt him are fake. Remember Spicer saying the employment reports were fake under President Obama but real now, and getting a laugh in the briefing room? Way back when?
Or "the leaks are real but the news is fake", condemning reports from within the White House while also denying them.

Or the Mueller report that is 100% false and also 100% exonerates him.
So NASA needs to shut up about the moon, the moon's the past... but watch, he'll talk about the moon when there's progress to tout. Just like he'll take credit for whatever he wrings out of Mexico this weekend, but also turn around and say they did nothing to combat the migrants.
He's secured our border but there's a crisis. The wall is being built but the Democrats aren't letting him build it.
I mean, compared to "the news is fake but the leaks are real" and all of these things, is the moon being part of Mars even that weird a proclamation?
Anyway, if you got something of value out of my threads today, please give something back, because I've got bills to pay, I've got mouths to feed, and there ain't nothing in this world for free.

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