During a set piece telephone conversation between White House Oval office and the International Space Station in April 2017, US President Donald Trump told the astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer on board that he wanted a manned landing on Mars to take place during his “second term” in office. This implied that such a landing would have to take place before 2025. Given that the current NASA exploration project currently plans to make an attempt in the 2030s, we guessed that Trump was warming to the Mars landing plan as envisioned by Elon Musk.
This has now been confirmed by the book Fire and Fury: Inside Trump’s While House” by Michael Wolf. Apparently, Trump was given a presentation by Musk and had his interest stimulated in the project. Business Insider has obtained a confirmation from SpaceX that the conversation/presentation took place in Trump Tower. This could be part of the reason why Donald Trump has ordered NASA to concentrate on lunar exploration in the nearer term.
The pair subsequently fell out however when Trump refused to sign the USA up to the Paris Climate Change Accord which led Musk to quit a national industrial strategy board. Nevertheless, there are signs that the pair have made up. President Trump has even said that he could take the USA back into the Paris Accord if its terms were better.