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On Wednesday evening, Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, took to Reddit for an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session.
Trump didn’t extensively answer many science and technology-related questions—responding to just 12 total questions during the hour—and ignored other crucial issues, such as intellectual property law and Edward Snowden. His answers were very short and sounded very similar to previous things he’s said on the campaign trail.
In response to “What role should NASA play in helping to Make America Great Again?” Trump answered: “Honestly I think NASA is wonderful! America has always led the world in space exploration.”
As The Atlantic reported, Trump broke with tradition a bit, choosing to plant his flag not in the “sub-reddit” /r/IAmA/, but rather /r/The_Donald/, where his supporters gather, giving him a home-field advantage.
“Moderators deleted comments from any reddit account created in the past month, assuming they were created by troublemakers out to spam the Q&A,” The Atlantic noted.
After someone asked “How will you, as president, tackle this protected class of media elites without stepping on the first amendment rights of average Americans?” the real estate mogul wrote back: “I have been very concerned about media bias and the total dishonesty of the press.
I think new media is a great way to get out the truth.”
The GOP candidate passed on questions ranging from encryption (“Do you think methods like personal encryption make us safer from malicious individuals [or governments] or do they make us unsafe by preventing law enforcement from doing their job?”) to laser strikes, which Ars has been reporting on for years.
In the latter question, an 18-year-old woman, Emily Banach, seemed to ask a possible President Trump if he would pardon her father, who has already served two years of probation.
That man, David Banach, accepted probation a decade ago in a plea deal in what is believed to be the first laser strike case ever prosecuted; it was brought by then-US Attorney Chris Christie, who is now a member of the Trump campaign and the current governor of New Jersey.
Emily Banach wrote that in fact it was her, at the age of eight, and not her father, who fired the laser into the sky. Last year, she wrote on Reddit that her father helped her use it to study comets and other astronomical phenomena.
She wrote that he took a plea deal to stay out of prison but is now a felon and has “struggled to earn a living ever since.”
She did not immediately respond to Ars’ message sent to her via Reddit.