Take stock of the “scientific answers” handed over during Trump’s four years in office

After a week of glue, the U.S. media announced Biden’s election as president of the United States. Mr. Trump’s four years in office have had a profound impact on the scientific community. Previously, major scientific journals have published articles to take stock of Trump’s scientific answers. Before the election, the United States Science, Britain’s Nature, The Lancet and other authoritative academic journals have published articles, attacking the U.S. government’s failure to fight the epidemic, the release of inaccurate information, political interference in the prevention and control of the epidemic, resulting in a “high degree of mistrust and confusion.”

The New England Journal of Medicine has broken its nearly two-century tradition of avoiding politics by criticizing U.S. politicians for their weak response to the new crown epidemic.

As of November 7, the number of new crown infections in the United States had reached 9.83 million, with 236,000 deaths. The weak epidemic is the most criticized part of the Trump administration, but the president’s four-year tenure has generated far more scientific controversy. Some of the damage Mr. Trump has done to the American scientific community “may be permanent” and will take decades to recover, Nature said in an editorial.

Eco-unfriendly president

On April 22, 2017 (World Earth Day), tens of thousands of researchers from many countries around the world took to the streets from their laboratories, holding witty slogans and participating in the “March for Science” in hundreds of cities.

Although organizers stressed that the “for science march” had no political significance and no party ad liturk, Donald Trump, who had just been elected PRESIDENT of the United States at the time, “catalyticized” the march, according to the BBC. Mr. Trump has been calling climate change a “scam” since he claimed on social media in November 2012 that the concept of “global warming” was man-made.

“It’s snowing in New York. What about global warming? Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied global warming on social media before he was elected president, though his views have remained unchanged despite repeated media comments that “confuse the weather with the climate.”

“It’s snowing in New York. What about global warming? Before he was elected president, Mr. Trump made repeated statements on social media denying global warming. (Image from the Internet)

Since the new president took office, the White House has been “frequently involved” with government agencies outside the national security and military, from cutting research funding to repealing old regulations or changing leadership directly.

The impact of Trump’s policies on the environment and research institutions is undoubtedly enormous, but it was also a promise he made at the start of the campaign. Back in a campaign speech in May 2016, Mr. Trump said, “We will cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop handing over American taxpayers’ money to the United Nations global warming program.” “

The 195-nation U.N. climate summit in 2015 adopted the Paris Agreement, hoping to work together to curb global warming and limit the rise in global average temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In June 2017, Trump formally announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris agreement (though the U.S. Congress is still funding related U.N. programs).

Under the terms of the agreement, the United States did not withdraw immediately, but did not formally withdraw until the 4th election this month. As the world’s second-largest carbon emitter, the U.S. exit is clearly disappointing for many environmentalists. While the next president could rejoin the Paris Agreement, the Trump administration’s other environmental policies are less likely to be reversed.

For example, the current White House has repealed or weakened dozens of environmentally relevant regulations, such as those related to endangered species conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, and emissions standards for power stations and vehicles.

The Trump administration has also replaced former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which requires the United States to reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent between 2005 and 2030. Mr. Trump’s new energy deal would leave emissions reduction standards to state governments, allowing coal-dependent power plants to run longer. In March 2017, Mr. Trump, surrounded by West Virginia miners in the Rust Belt, signed an executive order repealing the Clean Power Plan. “You know what that means, ” he said to the miners. ” “

Mr. Trump’s “benefits” to the fossil-fuel industry go beyond that: Under the White House’s loosen regulations, coal-fired companies no longer need to reduce emissions of toxic mercury, and oil and gas companies no longer need to guard against methane leaks.

Another of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises was to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 580 kilometers of border wall construction has been completed. These concrete blocks, which are several meters deep, consume valuable groundwater resources in the deserts along the U.S.-Mexico border. The border wall also threatens species such as migratory birds in nearby areas.

On the other hand, the ecological and health impacts of the Trump administration’s relaxation of emissions standards and changes to ecological protection regulations, such as wetlands, may not be apparent until five to 10 years later.

Mr. Trump has made no fewer jokes in the field of environmental meteorology, and the “Mark pen door” incident is one of them. In September 2019, Trump announced on social media that Hurricane Dorian would affect Alabama, but that comment was quickly corrected by authorities. Later, at the White House, Trump showed a map of the hurricane’s trajectory, showing Alabama being “forced into” the hurricane’s trajectory with a marker pen.

Marker’s door event: Trump displays a map of Alabama’s hurricane trajectory with a marker pen at the White House (Source: sciencemag.org)

During the outbreak, it was against science

Mr. Trump’s “anti-science” attitude on health care came to the fore before he ran for president that year. Before he was elected president, he spread conspiracy theories on social media about “vaccine-causing autism”, leading to a growing “anti-vaccine” ranks in the United States. But during the 2016 campaign, he said, “I support vaccines, but now they’re using too much, and doctors are overdosing on their children as horses.” “

Before he was elected president, Mr. Trump repeatedly spread conspiracy theories on social media about “vaccines that cause autism.”

In 2020, the last year of office, a new crown epidemic broke out around the world, and Trump’s anti-intellectual, anti-science side was fully exposed. On October 27th more than 220,000 people died in the United States, and more than 70,000 new cases were added in a single day. But on the same day, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a report that said it would “end the new crown epidemic” as the first of the “five scientific and technological achievements” of Mr. Trump’s first term.

But everyone knows that the outbreak is far from over in the United States. Mr. Trump himself has repeatedly expressed interest in the Nobel Peace Prize, but has so far won only this year’s funny Nobel Prize in Medical Education. The award went to a group of heads of state, including Mr. Trump, for showing “how politicians affect people’s lives more directly than doctors and scientists” during the new crown pandemic.

The negative response to the new crown outbreak has been the most criticised in the Trump White House. Mr. Trump himself has consistently refused to wear masks in public, touting unscientific drugs and therapies, has repeatedly promised that “vaccines will soon be available”, and has repeatedly held crowded campaign rallies claiming to “fire” infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, all of which have had a negative impact on outbreak control.

At the White House briefing on April 23, 2020, after listening to the researchers’ latest findings on the new coronavirus, Trump “opened the brain” and suggested that the researchers test the UV exposure to the human body, “injection disinfectant” and other anti-virus programs. The comments were immediately fired up by the US media and accused of being “dangerous” and “ridiculous”. Mr. Trump responded the next day that he was simply “sarcastically asking a reporter a question.”

At the White House briefing on April 23, 2020, Trump proposed a plan to kill the virus, such as “UV exposure to the human body” and “injection disinfectants” (Source: axios.com)

Agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are key agencies in addressing public health threats. Scientific policies and industry standards developed by these institutions are often regarded as important references by other countries. But in this year’s outbreak, these agencies often disagree with the White House.

In August, for example, the FDA revoked an emergency authorization to treat new crowns with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which Mr. Trump has repeatedly claimed could cure new crown pneumonia, but has been denied by scientific research. Mr. Trump blasted the agency on social media for “shrubbing” the agency and slamming the FDA’s suspension of approval of plasma therapy as a new coronary treatment, saying the agency intentionally made the vaccine “difficult to produce.”

Michael Caputo, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and his team of advisers are suspected of repeatedly interfering with the CDC’s weekly outbreak report, demanding that the full report be referred to them for revision or even delayed publication or revision, the Washington Post reported.

In addition, the CDC’s new crown testing guidelines have been revised to include “it is controversial that close contacts of new crown cases do not have to be tested if they do not have symptoms of infection.” Several U.S. states decided not to adopt the recommendation and joined public health experts in denouncing the Trump administration. It is believed that the revision of the testing guidelines was based more on political factors than on scientific facts.

Out-of-control outbreaks have been cited as a major factor in the Trump administration’s declining approval numbers. But Mr. Trump’s call for accountability for the World Health Organization’s actions in the outbreak, first by threatening to suspend the annual WHO budget that the United States should pay, and then by July, by formally submitting a notice to withdraw from the organization, was a surprise.

Trump’s decision on WHO will not only affect the response to the new crown outbreak, but will also undermine important global health projects, such as efforts to eradicate polio al completely. Under the conditions set by the United States when it joined WHO in 1948, the United States must inform WHO one year before withdrawal, so the formal withdrawal of the United States from WHO is expected to take effect on 6 July 2021. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says he will immediately stop the U.S. withdrawal process if he wins The November presidential election.

Trump’s impact on people’s health is not just an outbreak response. Of the Obama-era bills that have been most attacked by Mr. Trump, the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as “Obamacare”), which gives an additional 20 million Americans health insurance coverage. During his years in office, Mr. Trump gradually weakened the bill’s effectiveness. In his first three years in office alone, 2.3 million people lost their health insurance, according to the authorities. As a result of the outbreak, many small businesses went bankrupt, causing more Americans to lose their health insurance.

“Scientific opportunist”

According to the Washington Post’s Fact Check column, Mr. Trump has made more than 20,000 false or misleading statements since becoming president, which the media called a “tsunami of lies.” In the portrayal of the mainstream media in the United States, Trump’s behavior often ignores science and even anti-science.

But the Trump administration’s federal spending on scientific research has generally not shrunk, but has increased, with only major changes in the structure of funding. While clamping down on environmental protection, health care and other areas, they have increased investment in areas related to national security, increased spending on research and development for quantum computing and artificial intelligence, and NASA is “not bad money”.

The Obama administration’s space policy focuses on Mars, and Trump wants to get back on the moon. In 2019, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence unveiled an ambitious “Artemis” timeline, announcing that NASA will send astronauts back to the moon by 2024.

In 2019, Trump announced the creation of a sixth military “space army” (Source: msn.com)

This point in time falls within the next presidential term. Whether NASA will be able to achieve its goals in such a short period of time remains to be seen, and the Trump administration has invested an unprecedented increase in NASA’s budget in order for the program to go smoothly.

On October 13th eight countries, including the Us, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, signed the US-led Artemis Agreement, which aims to “standardize” lunar exploration and resource extraction to avoid future conflicts.

It’s clear that Trump isn’t everywhere singing the opposite tune with scientists. “Trump is not anti-science, he’s a scientific opportunist,” said Robert Proctor, an expert on scientific history at Stanford University. “In a way, ignoring mainstream scientific opinion is just one way for Mr. Trump to portray himself as a maverick “anti-establishment” in front of voters.

According to a recording of a Trump interview disclosed by Bob Woodward, a senior Washington Post reporter, Mr. Trump understood as early as February 7 that “the new coronavirus can be transmitted by air and is more deadly than the flu virus.” But in the months that followed, he repeatedly called the new crown “like flu” in an attempt to play down the threat of an outbreak. Mr. Trump argued that he did not want to cause panic and soaring prices.

Biden has a tough job ahead of him

Past U.S. administrations may have despised the former to varying degrees when scientific discoveries conflicted with political objectives. For example, the Reagan administration’s slow response to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s was criticized by health experts; FDA scientists rejected the Obama administration’s conclusion that “over-the-counter emergency birth control pills are not harmful to minors.”

There was a “golden age” of science after World War II, when scientists were valued in the context of the great powers’ arms and space races, and many research institutions were established. No matter what kind of Facebook the then president of the United States is, science is an important issue. In other times, when the role of science in the face of the challenges of the times is unclear or incomprehensible, even “pro-science” presidents, such as Jimmy Carter, do not prioritize science.

But under the Trump administration, attacks on science have increased dramatically. Many senior government positions, including the ENVIRONMENTAL Agency and the Interior Ministry, are occupied by political thyers and business personnel. In the first two years of Mr. Trump’s presidency, more than 1,600 scientists left federal jobs, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. By early 2020, one in five high-level scientific positions remains vacant.

Mr. Trump’s “America First” diplomatic leanings have caused problems for many U.S. researchers. In his second week as president, Mr. Trump signed an order seeking to restrict citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States; in May 2018, Mr. Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and restart sanctions against Iran. Scientists say the move hampers efforts to establish scientific cooperation among international researchers.

On October 29th Nature published the results of an online poll in which most of the readers (mainly researchers) who participated in the survey supported Biden’s election as president of the United States because he had demonstrated trust in science, and his approach to the new crown epidemic and climate change was more in line with mainstream scientific views.

Fortunately, Biden, backed by most scientists, won the election, but can Biden reverse the damage the Trump administration has done to science? This may not be a simple task. President Trump’s approach to science and truth has made the scientific community regretful, but what has made many scientists even more anxious is that by the end of his first term, a large number of voters were still voting for him.