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State Of The Union Acknowledged Some Science, Ignored Climate Change

The president speaks at the 2019 State of the Union address.
Shealah Craighead,
The president speaks at the 2019 State of the Union address.

President Trump’s State of the Union address included the word “science” not just once, as was the case in last year’s speech, but twice. The President called for efforts to stop the spread of HIV and cure childhood cancers.  

Climate change was nowhere to be found.

Still, the speech provided a signal to President Trump’s core supporters that he values scientific contributions, at least in areas that he thinks are important.

That’s according to Jamie Vernon, executive director and CEO at Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society, and Publisher of American Scientist.

“Trump really covered the impact of science on economics, health, and even defense and national security,” Vernon told Living Lab Radio. “He was able to integrate that throughout his speech when he was working through various areas that he cared about.”

Some observers sounded a note of skepticism when the president called for the end of HIV in the next 10 years.

“Many might find [it] ironic, given that he essentially disbanded his HIV/AIDS advisers last year,” Vernon said. “It is questionable as to whether or not he's going to be able to execute on that.”

Vernon found it disappointing that President Trump never mentioned climate change in the speech, but he said there were plenty of other things to like, such as his mention of the historic Apollo 11 mission of 1969.

“He talked about the transformation that science has made and the contributions to quality of life,” Vernon said. “We have to at least acknowledge that he's not dismissing science writ large. The concept of war on science may not hold up here.”  

Web post produced by Elsa Partan.

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Elsa Partan is a producer for Living Lab Radio. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.