Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable discussion with veterans, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Joe Biden
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable discussion with veterans, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

“The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment.”

For the first time in its 175-year history, the Scientific American waded into politics with a presidential endorsement for Joe Biden, joining a long line of other scientific organizations taking a stand against President Donald Trump. Citing a laundry list of ills visited on the American people by Trump’s rejection and manipulation of scientific evidence for his own political ends, the magazine made a blistering case for why America needs leadership that believes science now. 

“The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science,” the editors wrote in the publication’s October issue. “That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.”

Currently, an estimated 6.5 million Americans have contracted coronavirus and nearly 200,000 have died from related complications. These numbers would not have been so high, Scientific American editors argue, had Trump developed a national strategy to provide protective equipment, coronavirus testing, or clear health guidelines. As recently as July, the White House administration opposed earmarking $25 billion for contact tracing and testing in the Senate’s draft of another coronavirus relief bill. Trump refused to even wear a mask until six months into the pandemic, and encouraged protests of social distancing in Democratic-led cities and states. 

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“One of the many things this pandemic—and the administration’s failed response to it—has exposed is the danger of ignoring science and expertise,” Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action, told COURIER. The organization is a grassroots network working to get more scientists elected to public office. “The past six months have proven that leaders who deny science and ignore the voices of scientists expose the American public to massive consequences, including the loss of hundreds of thousands of American lives.”

In addition to the pandemic fails, Trump’s attacks on environmental protections, attempts to gut medical care, and politicization of public science agencies have all worked in concert to produce a perfect storm of disastrous proportions. His willful ignorance stands in stark contrast to Biden’s  fact-based plans to protect health care, the US economy, and the environment. The Democratic candidate released a $2 trillion plan in July to increase investment in clean energy and cease climate-damaging emissions from US power plants over the next 15 years.

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Earlier this week, the president traveled to Sacramento for a briefing by California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state officials. Wildfires have been ravaging the West Coast for weeks, and Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot took the opportunity to urge him to recognize climate change “and what it means to our forests.”

“If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together protecting Californians,” Crowfoot said.

Trump, who has repeatedly denied global warming is an issue, responded, “I don’t think science knows, actually.”

It’s the most blatant, but hardly the first, instance of the president’s contempt for facts that don’t serve his agenda. The Union of Concerned Scientists documented 150 separate incidences of “gross violations of scientific integrity” by the Trump administration, revealing a pattern of ignoring, minimizing, and censoring scientists and their research. 

“By shifting policymaking away from science-based decision making, the Trump administration is prioritizing political concerns at the expense of all our health and safety,” writes research analyst Anita Desikan on the UCS website.

Biden blasted Trump’s comments, saying Monday, “Donald Trump’s climate denial may not have caused these fires and hurricanes, but if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common and more devastating and more deadly.”

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