Mary Trump Has Harsh Words For The Billionaires In The Space Race

Richard Branson's trip to the edge of space on July 11 represents just the latest salvo in what could be considered as a billionaire space race. Fellow billionaire and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is scheduled to make his own trip on July 20, he shared on Instagram. His capsule is fully automated and will include his brother as a passenger, as well as an unnamed guest who paid for the privilege at a $28 million charity auction, per Forbes

Meanwhile, Elon Musk of SpaceX is done with "edge of space" stuff — he's already flying people to the International Space Station and wants to go to Mars — and he's been dismissive of both, tweeting on July 3, "There is a big difference between reaching space and reaching orbit" (via AP). 

While Branson and Musk can be lauded for their determination in making their vision a reality, there are plenty, like Mary L Trump, who feel they should set their eyes on a different prize. "How's this headline: Branson, Musk, and Bezos who could tackle child hunger, climate change, racial injustice, health care, the rise of fascism etc and still be richer than 99.9999% of us choose to be narcissistic assholes and shoot their money into space. That about right?" she tweeted on July 11.

The billionaire space race is dividing the internet

Mary L Trump's comment, just as Branson's history-making voyage itself, divided the room. "Billionaire tax evaders and carbon emitters Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos really need to read the room. We want you to pay higher taxes, not fly higher rockets," fumed one internet user in a separate thread. Another said: "Mixed feelings. I get the excitement, overcoming technical challenges, potential...but, the immediate deadly problems here on earth override the egos of wealthy white men. Poverty, illness, climate change, crumbling infrastructure, food supplies, the disassembly of democracy..."

There were also those who felt that their desire to innovate needed some recognition. "I rarely disagree with you, but for this I reach back to the Wright Bros. Ford, etc. Richard and Jeff give billions to very good causes. There is so much evil and hate...this is just a happy moment. Can we be happy for just a second?" the social media user said. Another pointed out: "Listen. I know how all this looks and I agree on the optics. But, to me, this means jobs in the USA for science, technology, space medicine, engineering and everything in between. USA is on top! Yes, this is a spectacle but it's also future jobs! Lindbergh! Wright bro's! Jobs!"

And then there was the social media warrior who pointed out the ethical grey area: "They're so busy proving that they can, that they didn't bother to ask if they should."