President Trump has made his disdain for science clear to everyone. The appointment of the strongly anti-science Scott Pruitt to head the EPA should be proof enough. But, he has continued with numerous other appointments and actions, including withdrawing from the Paris accord. Recently, he has really proven his utter hatred of science with two other nominations: Sam Clovis and Representative Jim Brindenstine.
Trump nominated Clovis to be the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics. Essentially, this position is the chief scientist in the department and overseas the agency's $3 billion research budget. Clovis graduated from the US Air Force Academy with a bachelor's degree in political science. After graduation, he served in the USAF for 25 years as a fighter pilot and instructor, retiring with the rank of colonel. He holds an MBA from Golden Gate University and a Ph.D. in public administration from the University of Alabama. He taught economics and business at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and hosted a radio talk show.
All very fine qualifications, but none of them are applicable to the job. By law, this position must be filled by someone who is "among distinguished scientists with specialized training or
significant experience in agricultural research, education or
economics." Clovis has no qualifications to justify that distinction.
But, this isn't what qualifies Clovis as someone who hates science. His comments do.
Clovis has spoken out concerning climate change and called it "junk science." He has called climate change a "hoax" and stated that it was a "campaign to redistribute the wealth." While campaigning for the US Senate in 2014, he stated, "I have looked at the sciencenand I have enough of a
science background to know when I'm being boofed. And a lot of what we
see is junk science." In response, I would suggest you take another look at his credentials above. In fact, he has no science background at all. No wonder he's "boofed" by the science, he's listening to the anti-science crowd and not the climate scientists.
He has stated that homosexuality is a choice, saying the science is "unsettled." (Does that phrase sound familiar?) He stated the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead to pedophilia and pastors wouldn't be allowed to preach against the "aberration" that "alternative lifestyles" were to church doctrine. He has also claimed Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States. When asked if he thought his words might be extreme, Clovis responded, "I don't think it's extreme. I think it's a logical
extension of thought. And if you cannot follow the logic then you're
denying your in denial."
And, this is who Trump wants to head a massive research program. But, Trump didn't stop there. He next had to find an new NASA Administrator because the last one resigned before Trump even took office. The agency has been under an acting administrator since then. Trump finally nominated Oklahoma US Representative Jim Bridenstine.
Bridenstine graduated from Rice University with majors in Economics, Psychology, and Business and has an MBA from Cornell University. He flies E2-C Hawkeyes in the US Navy Reserve and is the former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium. He has been a US Representative since 2013. Some nice credentials. But, none of them qualify him to lead NASA, one of the most premier science agencies in the world.
He, too, is a vocal climate change denier and has been quoted several times making false statements that do not conform to the facts, such as "if you look at the Chinese and the Russian and the Indian production of
carbon emissions, it is overwhelmingly massive compared to the carbon
footprint of the United States of America.” (The US is currently the second largest carbon emitter. Until recently, it was long the number one emitter.) In a 2013 speech on the House floor, Bridenstine stated, "Global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago. Global temperature changes, when they
exist, correlate with sun output and ocean cycles.” The facts say otherwise.
Interestingly enough, both US Senators from Florida have already stated they are opposed to his appointment. NASA is big business in Florida, remember.
We can only hope these two individuals will not have their appointments confirmed. That would slow down Trump's science hate-train a little, but I'm sure he'll find plenty of other science haters to nominate if these two aren't.