President Donald trump has a problem that is not being discussed in the midst of the din regarding the impending "Schumer Shutdown," fights over immigration, and passing a spending bill. Senate Democrats are obstructing a number of his nominees, in particular, Rep. Jim Bridenstine for the post of NASA administrator. The choice of a permanent chief for the space agency is crucial for the execution of Trump’s "Back to the Moon" policy. As it stands right now, thanks to the opposition led by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida and backed by the Democratic Senate leadership, and the fact that Sen.

Marco Rubio, R-Florida and Sen John McCain, R-Arizona are on the fence, Bridenstine’s nomination is on the edge of the knife.

What the president should not do

Typically when someone is standing in the president’s way or when someone is otherwise annoying Trump, POTUS takes to Twitter and starts to deliver abuse. One can just imagine what a tweet on this matter would be like. “Silly Billy Nelson is hurting his constituents at KSC by blocking Jim Bridenstine, a good man, for NASA chief. He needs to knock it off and help make America great again by going back to the moon. SAD!” As satisfying as another tweet storm might be, it would only serve the Democrats agenda.

Instead, work the art of the deal

Trump likes to boast of his acumen in the art of the deal. He needs to invite McCain, Rubio, and Nelson to separate meetings in the Oval Office. Bridenstine can be in at the meetings with McCain and Rubio so that if all that it takes is an apology for things said during the heat of political campaigns, he will be available.

Nelson seems to be intent on demonstrating his power and pandering to his more liberal constituents by trying to block Bridenstine.

Trump needs to work whatever magic he thinks he has to get Nelson from a no to a yes or, failing that, not so big of a no. Is there something that Florida could use that could be traded for Bridenstine, such as more hurricane relief? Are there any threats that Trump can make, perhaps by threatening government support for the SpaceX spaceport under construction in Texas, which would siphon business from the Kennedy Space Center?

We should, in any case, leave the specifics in the president’s capable hands.

An intervention in the Bridenstine nomination fight will have the solitary effect of proving that Trump takes space policy and his return to the moon initiative seriously. Weighing in now may well save time and effort on fights that might be waged later.

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