As of June 6, the Trump White House had announced a nominee for just seven, or 15 percent, of 46 top science posts in the federal government that require Senate confirmation, according to a Post analysis.
This failure to fill top science jobs across the federal government has become even more pointed in light of his Paris choice. Recaps of Trump’s decision-making process have highlighted many influences upon it, but none of them principally scientific in nature.
Now President Trump has made a momentous decision about climate change.
“When the crisis occurs, whether it’s an oil well blowout or an emerging disease or a tunnel collapse at a nuclear facility, that’s too late to get up to speed,” said Rush Holt, the chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “You want people who are up to speed before the crisis occurs.”
It’s also not clear whom Trump would consult for advice about climate change: Trump has not appointed a presidential science adviser, nor has he appointed a head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a lead federal agency that focuses on climate change science, or a chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Trump tweeted on June 5 that Democrats were “taking forever to approve my people,” but that wouldn’t apply in the case of these science jobs — because no one has been formally nominated yet.
Overall, Trump is moving slower on science appointments than recent past presidents of both parties.
By June 6, 2009, President Obama had formally announced nominees for 25 of these posts (or 26 if you include one position, the Energy Department’s undersecretary for energy and environment, that no longer exists).
President George W. Bush, too, was ahead of Trump on science-focused appointments at this time in the first year of his presidency. By June 6, 2001, Bush had sent the Senate nominations for at least 12 of them — and 14 if you count two science-and-technology-focused positions that no longer exist.
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