Donald Trump has been accused of ‘flipping the bird’ at female astronaut Jessica Meir after she fact-checked him for mistakenly congratulating her and Christina Koch for being the ‘first ever female spacewalkers’.
The president spoke with the pair, who were at the International Space Station on Friday, telling them: ‘You are amazing people; they’re conducting the first ever female spacewalk to replace an exterior part of the space station.’
They were, in fact, the first to complete an all-female spacewalk outside of the craft and Meir chimed in to make that point clear. The first female spacewalk took place in 1984 and 14 more have since followed.
In the clip, Trump appears to raise his middle finger to scratch his forehead and fix his hair just as Meir speaks up.
The footage was quickly shared on Twitter with many users assuming he swearing at the astronaut.
Shannon Watts posted the footage online, writing: ‘When gently corrected by one of the astronauts about how other women have spacewalked, Donald Trump uses his middle finger to “fix” his hair. How is this even real life?’
Her tweet has been liked more than 77,00 times and retweeted more than 25,000.
Donald Trump has been accused of ‘flipping the bird’ at a female astronaut who fact-checked him after he mistakenly congratulated her for being part of the ‘first ever female spacewalkers’
Astronauts Jessica Meir, left, and Christina Koch pose for a photo in the International Space Station. The astronauts took part in the first all-female spacewalk. The president mistakenly congratulated the two for being the ‘first ever female spacewalkers’
Replying to the clip one user said: ‘There is absolutely no way that was not on purpose. How dare he treat these women are much better than he ever will be and have accomplished much more in life than he has.’
Another added: ‘Trump gives our two female spacewalkers his middle finger as they correct him, saying they are not the first women to walk in space, as he had said. Flipping the bird was so obvious. Oh, how crude.’
One commentator called his ‘stupidity out of this world’.
‘Trump says it’s the first-ever female space walk. The female astronaut fact-checks him, so naturally, he not-so-subtly gives her the finger. Watch for yourself,’ another said.
Body language expert Patti Wood told the DailyMail.com the act was deliberate. She said: ‘I knew immediately it was done purposely.
‘The timing is everything – right as she corrects him he swiftly and dramatically moves to the right and looks down to the right then shuts his eyes retreat and dismissal emphasized with his closed, downward edge turned mouth of displeasure. So we know before he does it he is upset.
‘Then he puts the middle finger out and puts it in the center of his forehead. This is significant as it calls attention to the action. He then lingers there, rubbing up and down. He continues in the “up down” motion as he moves it to the side. This slow motion shows it to be strategic, passive aggressive behaviour.
‘He is very, very careful not to mess up his hair which is another reason why I know it was purposeful rather than a quick subconscious reaction.
‘If he was scratching we would expect him to put more fingers up and to bend them to use his nails. If it was a comfort or stress move, typically the fingers and palm would be used to block more of his face.
‘This is behavior more likely to be seen in a child or a teenager where they pretend to do something else. He also smiles in dupers delight glee when he finishes doing it showing he enjoyed doing it!’
Trump had addressed Koch and Meir while sitting at a table between his daughter Ivanka Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, surrounded by NASA officials and a group of Girl Scouts at the White House.
‘This is the first time for a woman outside of the space station,’ Trump said staring into the camera.
He later added: ‘You are amazing people; they’re conducting the first ever female spacewalk to replace an exterior part of the space station.
‘They’re doing some work, and they’re doing it in a very high altitude — an altitude that very few people will ever see.’
In the clip Trump appears to raise his middle finger to scratch his forehead and fix his hair just as Meir speaks up. The footage was quickly shared on Twitter with many users assuming he swearing at the astronaut
Meir can then be heard correcting the president, explaining that today marked the first time there has been two women outside at the same time.
‘We don’t want to take too much credit because there have been many other female spacewalkers before,’ she said.
‘This is the first time that there’s been two women outside at the same time.’
It was at this moment he appears to raise his middle finger and has been accused of ‘flipping the bird’.
It would not be the first time POTUS has been accused of flipping the bird during official engagements.
It would not be the first time POTUS has been accused of flipping the bird during official engagements. Trump appears to swear during the G7 in Italy in 2017
In February 2017, during Black History Month, he appeared to raise his middle finger when sat with Omarosa Manigault. She was later highly critical of him
In February 2017, during Black History Month, he appeared to do the same when sat with Omarosa Manigault. The former aide later published her tell-all book ‘Unhinged’, in which she was fiercely critical of him.
Later that year he looked to have pulled the same move at the G7 in Italy, Gizmodo reports.
And then in September 2017 he raised his middle finger again when asked about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
Regardless of Trump’s blunder, Koch and Meir will still go in history books for the first all-female spacewalk.
The duo left the International Space Station at 07:38am ET (12:38pm BST) to begin the first all-female spacewalk ever, which took around eight hours.
Their job was to fix a broken part of the station’s solar power network.