Scientists Are Conspicuously Missing from Trump’s Government
by Chris Mooney (The Washington Post) President Trump has moved to fill just one of 46 key science and technology positions that help the government counter risks ranging from chemical and biological attacks to rising seas, a Washington Post analysis has found.
The vacancies in the 46 Senate-confirmed posts range from the president’s science adviser, to the administrators of NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Meanwhile, Trump “beachhead teams” at federal agencies, whose members do not require Senate confirmation, have included people whose views diverge from science consensus positions, ….
There’s also concern that short-staffing of scientists could leave the Trump administration unprepared to handle a science-based crisis — such as a new emergence of bird flu with an increased ability to be transmitted between humans.
“I’ve tried to make the case to the administration that a science adviser is important for them, for their success,” said Holt (physicist Rush Holt, a former member of Congress and now the chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science). “That this is not just a representative of the science community that they need, but rather they need somebody on staff to help them deal with immediate crises that require some expertise in dealing with, or, for longer term strategic planning.”
Thus far Trump has appeared to get scientific consultation from places that aren’t necessarily representative of the mainstream — he’s met with a critic of vaccinations, the Princeton physicist William Happer, who thinks global warming will be beneficial to the world because it will boost plant growth, and the conservative Yale computer scientist David Gelernter, who has also expressed skepticism about climate change. READ MORE science and technology positions still unfilled