White House blocked scientist from talking about science in congressional testimony


The White House blocked scientific language from congressional testimony because it didn't 'jibe' with the Trump administration's official anti-science policy.

The impacts of climate change are "possibly catastrophic," according to written testimony the White House blocked from Congress, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

According to documents obtained by the Post, the testimony was censored because it "focuses heavily" on climate science and "doesn't reflect the coordinated [intelligence community], or the administration's position."

White House officials and other political appointees in the Trump administration ultimately suppressed the written testimony of Rod Schoonover, an Office of the Geographer and Global Issues employee who testified before the House Intelligence Committee last week. Schoonover, who is also a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, did testify but was not allowed to submit written testimony, as is common practice.

Schoonover's draft testimony contained scientific data about the impact of climate change that was informed by peer-reviewed scientific journals and research from top government scientists, and included details about changes in weather patterns, the melting of Antarctic ice, and the fact that, according to NASA, 18 of the past 20 years are the warmest on ever recorded.

"The White House proposed eliminating all of these scientific references," the Post reports.

One Trump official said Schoonover's testimony did not "jibe" with the administration's views. Another official belittled the testimony as "not objective testimony at all."

Unfortunately, the Trump administration has a long history of censoring science and manipulating data for their own purposes.

In 2018, a survey of government scientists showed an alarming concern over censorship and political decisions being made without taking into account the views of expert scientists.

Later that same year, the Trump administration questioned the accuracy of a comprehensive, 1,600-page report on the effects of climate change compiled by hundreds of scientists from 13 federal agencies.

In May 2019, Trump's team proposed changing how the impacts of a pro-pollution policy would impact people, downplaying the fact that a proposed change to coal plants would cause 1,400 premature deaths.

And now, the administration is outright censoring information from getting to Congress and the general public.

"This is an intentional failure of the White House to perform a core duty: inform the American public of the threats we face," Francesco Femia, chief executive of the Council on Strategic Risks, told the Post. "It's dangerous and unacceptable. Any attempt to suppress information on the security risks of climate change threatens to leave the American public vulnerable and unsafe."

Trump has long considered climate change to be a hoax, a position he seemed to reiterate in a recent interview with Piers Morgan. "I believe there is a change in weather and I think it changes both ways," Trump told Morgan. "Don't forget, it used to be called 'global warming,' that wasn't working, then it's called 'climate change' and now it's called 'extreme weather.'"

Now it seems Trump has upped the ante, going from ridiculing climate change to having his administration outright suppress scientific testimony. The Trump administration's anti-science once again trumped actual science.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.