As NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch were completing their history-making spacewalk (the first with an all-women crew) on Friday, President Donald Trump decided to butt in. Naturally, it was very confusing.
Trump connected with Meir just before 12:30 PM ET on Friday, as she was working on the International Space Station’s exterior with Koch. The two women were nearing their fifth hour outside the station.
“We’re thrilled to be speaking live with two brave American astronauts who are making history and joining us during their spacewalk,” Trump said during the livestreamed call, which started somewhat normally. The President was seated with his daughter Ivanka Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Trump seemed to be confused about the nature of the event, announcing that “this is the first time for a woman outside of the space station,” and repeating seconds later that it was “the first-ever female spacewalk.”
Many women have performed spacewalks, or extravehicular activities (EVAs). Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya was the first woman ever to conduct an EVA in 1984. NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan became the first American woman spacewalker later the same year.
Koch and Meir are the first all-woman crew to perform an EVA, however.
Meir took the opportunity to clarify the historic milestone. “First of all, we don’t want to take too much credit, because there have been many other female spacewalkers before us,” she said. “This is just the first time there have been two women outside at the same time.”
“For us, this is really just us doing our jobs,” Meir continued. “We were the crew that was tasked with this assignment. At the same time, we recognize that it is a historic achievement and we do of course want to give credit to all those who came before us. There have been a long line of female scientists, explorers, engineers, and astronauts, and we have followed in their footsteps to get us where we are today.”
“We also hope we can provide an inspiration to everybody—not only women, but to everybody—that has a big dream and is willing to work hard to make that dream come true,” she concluded.
Trump complimented Meir and Koch and told them to “have a good time” before ending the brief call.