Thinking about this (too much time on my hands!) since we know a Moon base (Alpha) has absolutely nothing to do with his Mars ambition I conclude a very different motive...indeed.A fully political/money motive.
We know that this is what P Trump wants -The Moon base- and for all we know he may get 2 terms.
I believe it was a totally blatant move to get the SLS scrapped nothing less.
That goal (killing SLS) is part of why I'm rooting for SpaceX. From the moment NASA announced the shuttle would have SRBs and all of the consequent abort sequences I wasn't a shuttle fan. We shouldn't put humans on top of a solid fuel rocket. Further, hydrogen at the first stage is a bad choice. The segmented boosters didn't save money, it would have been cheaper to just use a throwaway casing. In the end, those SRBs killed one crew, and it wasn't the way people expected, it was due to the failed attempt at re-use due to the segments.
The shuttle also used hydrogen fuel from the ground - a bad call, hydrogen sucks at the first stage. It meant much larger, more expensive engines from the ground.
What is SLS? Re-use all of the bad parts from the shuttle, just getting rid of the glided re-entry. The SRB still can fail from segment seal failures, it still has complex aborts, and they're planning on using hydrogen from the ground.
All are bad calls.
Plus, just as SpaceX is perfecting re-use and Blue Origin is getting close, they are dumping re-use. It's like they keep doing the wrong thing for the time.
I love and respect NASA I really do.But their rocket building days may be numbered and perhaps they should be.Their expertise lies elsewhere.
Private enterprise can build the lifting (and now landingRockets),NASA can do almost anything/everything else.
And that's where the government money comes in soooo handy -clever boy.
I don't understand how NASA went from such an incredible success with Apollo to not having the right stuff anymore. They're caught up in minutia and paperwork but not making the big picture calls with wisdom. Here we have Falcon9 being criticized by NASA earlier this year, yet Flacon9 has a better track record of success over anything NASA has done since the 1960's.