Trump Tells Scientists Their Research Must Pass His Political Test

Donald Trump grimace

Over the last several days, the Trump Administration has been exposed for telling several blatant lies.

First, Trump Administration spokesman Sean Spicer was sent out to falsely declare that Donald Trump’s inauguration was the biggest in history, even though it actually was amongst the weakest in attendance in recent decades.

Then, Spicer falsely told reporters that Donald Trump had instituted a hiring freeze because of a “dramatic expansion” of the federal workforce under Barack Obama, even though there never was any such dramatic expansion.

Yesterday, Spicer lied to journalists when he repeated Donald Trump’s claim that many millions of illegal ballots were cast against him. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence that anything of the sort happened. Nonetheless, Trump announced today that he is launching a huge and expensive investigation to justify his own belief that massive voter fraud prevented him from winning the popular vote.

Donald Trump is not launching any investigation into the Russian attack against the 2016 election, for which 17 federal intelligence agencies have concluded that there is substantial evidence.

A clear pattern is emerging in which Donald Trump defines his own version of the truth – “alternative facts” as Kellyanne Conway refers to them – and then orders everyone working under him in the Executive Branch to rearrange reality as best they can in order to bring it into alignment with his beliefs.

Now, that pattern has cast its shadow over the work of government scientists. Today, Donald Trump announced that the work of scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency will be subject to his political censorship until further notice. No EPA scientist will be allowed to publish the results of their studies in peer reviewed journals or present their findings at scientific meetings until a special political committee approves their work.

The purpose of this approval process, explains Doug Erickson, the chief of communications for the Trump transition, is to ensure that all scientific findings have a “voice” that is managed “to reflect the new administration”.

In other words, Donald Trump is setting up a system to make sure that the only science done at the EPA that is made available to the American public and the wider scientific community is the science that fits with Trump’s own ideas about what’s politically correct. That’s censorship.

No one can practice science under the threat of censorship. Science depends upon the ability to release findings without regard to the opinions of powerful influences. It also requires the ability to conduct experiments and share information without bias. The EPA cannot operate without unbiased scientific research. But then, a shutdown of the EPA may be just what the Trump Administration has in mind.

Donald Trump censors science