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Trump Still Has No Chief Science Advisor, And Democrats Are Fed Up

This is unprecedented.

STAFF, SCIENCE AF
30 MAR 2018

Over a year into his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to appoint a chief science advisor, taking him longer than any modern President.

Now, Senators Mark Warner and Gary Peters are urging the President to appoint a director to the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) as soon as possible.

 

In a letter sent to the White House on Thursday, the Democratic senators said it was "critical" that Trump appoint a "well-qualified" individual to the position.

The senators further explained that "well-qualified" means actually having a background in science or engineering.

"An OSTP Director could immediately make an impact in our nation's approach to present science and technology challenges through his or her leadership," the senators wrote.

In a time when many of the big issues facing the US are based on science and technology, the lack of scientific advisors in the Trump administration is worrying.

In the past, OSTP Directors, like Harvard University professor John Holdren, have been an important bridge between Congress and the White House on issues like climate change, cryptocurrencies, food security and economics.

Now, without an official director, some of the most necessary functions of OSTP have ceased to exist. The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, for instance, has completely disappeared.

And it's not just the directorship that remains empty. President Trump has also failed to nominate scientists for four other associate director positions at the OSTP.

Democratic senators are obviously concerned, though persuading the President seems unlikely. After all, even if Trump appoints a chief scientific advisor, there is no assurance that he will actually listen to them.

Science AF is ScienceAlert's new editorial section where we explore society's most complex problems using science, sanity and humor.

 
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