Trump's absurd idea to create a 'Space Force' branch of the military isn't happening, so he's hiding behind closed doors to avoid the humiliation.
Trump's much-ballyhooed dream of establishing a "Space Force" on the same level of the Army, Navy, and the rest of the armed services is dying in a quiet ceremony behind closed doors.
Trump is scheduled to sign a presidential directive on Tuesday that would merely order the Secretary of Defense (a position that is currently vacant) to have a periodic review of whether a separate Space Force department is needed.
"The approach falls short of Trump's earlier claims that the Space Force would be co-equal with the Army, Navy and Air Force," Politico noted.
"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," Trump said in June 2018, which may now mark the high watermark for Space Force frenzy.
While Trump usually likes to have public signing ceremonies in front of the cameras for his directives, the severely curtailed Space Force initiative is scheduled for a private moment, away from the press.
That's quite a comedown for an idea that Vice President Mike Pence once claimed would join the tradition of America's fight against Nazism in World War II as "the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces."
The Trump re-election campaign once thought the Space Force was such a big and important deal that it held a logo contest for supporters to pick the best design — which would then be sold on campaign swag and eventually send money back into Trump's own pockets.
There were signs that the Space Force was going to crash, as is often the case with Trump's most harebrained schemes.
At his most recent unhinged campaign rally, Trump didn't even bother to lead the audience in a chant of "Space Force" as he has in the past. He hasn't tweeted about it since August of 2018, when he wrote, "Space Force all the way!"
The Pentagon was always skeptical of the idea. While Trump was pushing "Space Force" to wild applause from his most diehard supporters, Defense Department officials were effectively ignoring him. They have sought to coordinate military activities in space under a U.S. Space Command, but that's nothing like the separate "Space Force" branch of the military Trump envisioned.
Congress, even when it was under Republican control, also did not make the Space Force a priority, and openly expressed skepticism about the idea.
Trump would need the approval of Congress to create a new branch of the military. Now that Democrats are in control of the House, Trump cannot even get money for his precious border wall idea, let alone an entire Space Force.
Just like the wall, "Space Force" was always a ridiculous applause line that was never going to become reality. Trump's new presidential directive is an admission of this failure — and that's why he's hiding behind closed doors to sign it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.