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Trump Picks a Meteorologist for the White House's Top Science Position

At long last, President Donald Trump has chosen someone for the top science role in the White House.

A Washington Post story just last week noted that Trump has taken twice as long as any other president in recent history to begin the process of filling the position, which advocates have taken as a sign of his disregard for scientific expertise. But late on Tuesday, Trump announced he is nominating meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier to direct the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy is supposed to help the president respond to emergencies such as disease epidemics and nuclear accidents, work on federal science budgets, and advise the president on longer-term challenges such as automation and climate change.

In news interviews, prominent scientists praised Trump's pick. Cliff Mass, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington, offered a typical assessment to Science: "Kelvin is a solid scientist, excellent with people, and with deep experience with large bureaucracies." Others told Science they would expect Droegemeier to support climate change research, despite the prominence of climate change denial in the White House.

Droegemeier has served in faculty and leadership roles at the University of Oklahoma, and was appointed to the National Science Board by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He'll need to be confirmed by the Senate.