Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

President Donald Trump gives the signing pen to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on June 18. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said he’s not getting pushback from Trump administration officials over his recent, high-profile endorsement of the scientific consensus that human activities are the dominant cause of global warming.

"The administration has been very supportive of my position. Nobody's given me a hard time about it at all"
— NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, in an interview with Axios

Why it matters: Bridenstine leads one of the world's top climate science research agencies, so his position on this issue will influence support for studies that in turn form the basis for policy decisions. Yet he's out of step with senior Trump officials.

He stands alone: Bridenstine is the only high-profile Trump appointee to become more confident about the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change once he got into office. He said studying climate science is not, and should not be, controversial.

"What I find, Republicans and Democrats can disagree about what to do about what we are learning, but everybody, everybody on both sides of the aisle believes that we should study and understand what is happening to the planet because it is changing and everybody knows that," he said.

Still, the Trump administration proposed steep cuts to NASA's climate programs in the next fiscal year. However, Congress restored most of the funding during the appropriations process.

Going all the way: In May, Bridenstine became the sole Trump administration official to fully endorse the findings of the federal government's National Climate Assessment. Other Trump officials either ignored this report or downplayed it as a product of the bureaucracy.

The old Bridenstine: In an interview with Axios earlier this week, Bridenstine said he has long recognized that the climate is changing. "Since my nomination, there have been a number of, I think, inaccurate narratives about my position on this," he said regarding his climate science stance.

Bridenstine said he understood the problem of climate change while in Congress, and cited his support for an amendment to a defense bill that called for a study on how climate change was affecting our "defense posture."

"... As a Navy person, I've seen firsthand that we are having to defend territory in the Arctic where we never used to have to defend before. That the Russians are doing activities in the Arctic that they never used to be able to do and that we should understand how climate change is affecting our national security posture. So, as a Navy person and somebody on the Armed Services Committee, it's pretty clear that the Arctic ice used to be there and now it's not," he said.

Be smart: Bridenstine does have a history of making comments questioning the causes of climate change. His climate change views, as well as his positions on social issues and background as a politician were the main reasons his nomination barely squeaked by the Senate on a vote of 50 to 49.

In a 2013 floor speech, for example, Bridenstine erroneously claimed that “Global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago. Global temperature changes, when they exist, correlate with sun output and ocean cycles.”

In reality, the top 5 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2010, and the recent National Climate Assessment explicitly rejected natural cycles as causing global warming.

The bottom line: Bridenstine says he aims to keep NASA "above the fray" on climate change, and the same might be said about how he aims to conduct himself in this role. "All we want to do at NASA, is make sure that we are providing the absolute best science so that policy makers can make good decisions," he said.

Go deeper

CPAC Republicans choose conservatism over constituents

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

Border Democrat warns Biden about immigrant fallout

Henry Cuellar (right). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A Democratic lawmaker representing a border district warned the Biden administration against easing up too much on unauthorized immigrants, citing their impact on his constituents, local hospitals and their potential to spread the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios he supports President Biden. But the moderate said he sees the downsides of efforts to placate pro-immigrant groups, an effort that threatens to blow up on the administration.

In CPAC speech, Trump says he won't start a 3rd party

Trump at CPAC on Feb. 28 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Courtesy of C-SPAN.

In his first public speech since leaving office, former President Trump told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he would not start a third party because "we have the Republican party."

Why it matters: The former president aims to cement himself as Republicans' "presumptive 2024 nominee" as his top contenders — including former members of his administration — face the challenge of running against the GOP's most popular politician.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!