On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Space Mission, US President Donald Trump Friday met astronauts Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Michael Collins at the White House. The duo, along with Neil Armstrong, had successfully landed on the moon on July 20, 1969.
The event was also attended by both sons of the late Armstrong, as well as first lady Melania Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence and NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Tomorrow will represent 50 years from the time we planted a beautiful American flag on the moon,” Trump said while addressing the press with the Apollo 11 astronauts and their families.
This meeting caught the attention of social media users for many reasons, including Aldrin’s mannerisms around the President — he is an open critic of Trump — and how Trump remained seated while meeting the astronaut.
trump in a room w buzz aldrin is like the depths of america meeting its heights pic.twitter.com/qOlSKgkOCA
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) July 19, 2019
Some users pointed out that Aldrin was very uncomfortable and kept sighing while standing next to Trump. At one point, he was photographed with a clenched fist. Meanwhile, others slammed POTUS for not standing up to greet the legends.
Why can’t he stand up when a guest is in the room? https://t.co/tNznjQuJRI
— 🏳️🌈 David Lytle 🏳️🌈 (@davitydave) July 20, 2019
How weird (rude) of him is it that Trump can’t stand up to talk to Aldrin
— All about the Blue (@BushallSam1) July 20, 2019
Aldrin’s got his punching hand ready https://t.co/mfC5C4rMxE
— Molotov Cocktail Dress 🇨🇦 🍑🍺🌘 (@heystewrat) July 20, 2019
Is it just me, or is Colonel Aldrin trying reeeeeaaaaally hard not to punch the President in the face? https://t.co/LDcJzaA9NN
— MIHistoryGuy (@MIHistoryGuy) July 20, 2019
“would you like to yell at the moon with Buzz Aldrin?” https://t.co/H9SvCYk93z
— @freebbq (@freebbqtx) July 20, 2019
Am I the only one appalled by the visual here? Trump lazes in his chair, doesn’t look at Buzz Aldrin when shaking hands, shows complete disrespect for these great, brave men. He’s such a total pig. Thank you Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. #Apollo11 #Apollo50th #Apollo11at50 https://t.co/OM0IBxfUFg
— SheGotNoStyle (@SheGotNoStyle) July 20, 2019
Why is Trump still sitting? This is effing Buzz Aldrin! Stand up, idiot. What is he thinking? That he’s the king now and everyone just has to cluster around his throne?
— meincary (@meincary) July 20, 2019
At CNN right now. Watching video of the Oval Office presser with a WH correspondent whose name I won’t say and we both are noting how Buzz Aldrin seems to be breathing deeply to stop himself from lashing out at Trump.
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) July 19, 2019
If Buzz threw a hook right here the resulting GoFundMe would cover his bail money plus another trip to the moon. https://t.co/HPkUjezwH0
— Renfamous⭐️ (@renfamous) July 19, 2019
One small step for man, one giant leap backwards for Americankind https://t.co/iFudMqJxe6
— Fiddler (@cFidd) July 19, 2019
I don’t care who you are, you stand when you meet Buzz Aldrin. https://t.co/4bxQHE2l0l
— John Rogers (@jonrog1) July 19, 2019
I think Buzz Aldrin is gunna be the one to save us all, by forceably taking the presidency away from trump. #heavybreathing
— Eric Bailey Wills (@NorCalFamous) July 19, 2019
Buzz Aldrin looks like George McFly at the end of Back to the Future pic.twitter.com/3kGnHGqC6c
— Colbtron (@colbtronic) July 19, 2019
The look on that man’s face…
that is the thousand yard stare of a stone cold killer.
And Trump looks confused. https://t.co/nfDoa76Kv5
— Carl R Olson (@SimonTVesper) July 19, 2019
Has anyone noticed that the Oval Office is now a throne room? https://t.co/ab0t4OeM9m
— Totem.Soul (@Totem_Soul) July 19, 2019
This Oval Office meeting between Trump, Aldrin and Collins is a Renaissance painting https://t.co/BetRMESj7i
— Steven Lemongello (@SteveLemongello) July 19, 2019
The meeting also reignited the ‘moon versus Mars’ debate. The President asked if the astronauts could get to Mars without first going back to the moon. Collins, 88, who circled the moon alone in the command module while Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the Eagle, told the President that he supports going directly to Mars and bypassing the moon.
Aldrin, meanwhile, said he’s disappointed with the state of human space exploration the past 10 or 15 years. “We were able to achieve so much early,” the 89-year-old said. “We have the No. 1 rocket right now in the US and we have the No. 1 spacecraft, and they cannot get into lunar orbit with significant manoeuvring capability,” Aldrin pointed out.