Bill Nye the "Science Guy" plans to attend the State of the Union address Tuesday night as a guest of President Trump's NASA nominee, although a spokesman for Nye said his attendance should not be confused with an endorsement.
Nye is attending as the guest of Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., whom Trump picked to run NASA. There is a protracted effort by activists and environmental groups to get senators to block the nomination based on statements Bridenstine made questioning the science of climate change.
"So right up front, I want to restate the fact that attending the [presidential address] as Bridenstine's guest does not mean that either Bill Nye or The Planetary Society is endorsing his nomination," said Casey Dreier, the Planetary Society's director of space policy. Nye is the president of the group.
"The Society does not make endorsements for NASA Administrator nominees — we are committed to working with whomever serves in that position," Dreier said in a blog post.
Nye has been targeted by the same groups that are opposing Bridenstine's nomination. Groups, including the liberal MoveOn.org, say Nye's attendance signifies that he is complicit with Bridenstine's denial of climate change.
Dreier said the Planetary Society has had an active relationship with the congressman because of his open mind when it comes to space exploration.
Dreier explained that one of the Planetary Society's founding principals is that science should be bipartisan, and that's the reason Nye will be attending as Bridenstine's guest.
"Space exploration is one of the few areas of politics that still offers significant opportunities for bipartisan rapprochement," said Dreier. "A shared passion for space can lay the groundwork for a relationship between individuals of very different political beliefs."