Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Culture

Did Trump Just Give A Jewish Astronaut The Finger?

Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir was busy walking outside of the International Space Station Friday afternoon as part of the first all-female spacewalk, but that didn’t stop her from giving President Trump a live fact check. Some believe the commander in chief’s response was a good old fashioned one-finger salute.

“We’re thrilled to be speaking live with two brave American astronauts who are making history, joining us during their spacewalk,” Trump said during a live-streamed call to Meir and her colleague Christina Koch, Vice reported.

On the call, Trump applauded their courage and admitted that he didn’t think he’d want to go to space himself, which seems true enough, but then said something that was not quite right.

“They are conducting the first ever female spacewalk to replace an exterior part of the space station,” Trump said.

After a lag (there was a four second delay according to someone in the room), Meir chimed in to offer a correction.

“First of all, we don’t want to take too much credit, because there have been many other female spacewalkers before us,” Meir said from a location Trump accurately described as “a very high altitude.”

“This is just the first time there have been two women outside at the same time.”

It is at this point in the call, as video evidence clearly shows, that Trump raises his middle finger to the bridge of his nose, strokes his T-Zone, edges the aforementioned derisive finger along the outside of his eyebrow, and then uses it to curl some stray hairs behind his ear.

The video went viral, leaving many to wonder if Trump was simply itchy, or was in fact sending a message he hoped could be seen from space.

Meir, for her part, appeared to be more gracious. When asked by the president what words she had for young women watching, Meir emphasized that her and Koch’s message was more universal than it was gendered.

“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,” Meir said, adding, “It’s really our honor to be up here, working today, representing whatever it is that’s significant to whatever individual’s desires and hearts.”

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture fellow. He can be reached at [email protected]

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.