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Trump mentions American ‘science and discovery’ — and that’s it for science
President Trump, near the conclusion of his address, referenced science for the first and only time. “Americans fill the world with art and music,” he said. “They push the bounds of science and discovery.” And that passing remark was the sum of science on Tuesday night.
Past presidents have mentioned specific discoveries and technological advancements during their State of the Union speeches. In 1997, Bill Clinton referenced Mars probes and the International Space Station as part of a push for space exploration. A decade later, George W. Bush pointed to the discovery that researchers could “reprogram adult skin cells,” as a way forward through the ethical mire of embryonic stem-cell research. Barack Obama gave a shout-out to NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, a guest at his speech in 2015.
But it was not unexpected that Trump did not dwell on the state of American science. Even when presidents have mentioned science during a State of the Union address, rarely have they discussed it in the context of their policies.
The Trump administration, however, has come under fire from scientists and scientific organizations for its lack of support. Many of the White House’s science-related positions remain unfilled. Trump has not named a science adviser. The staff of the Office of Science and Technology Policy has dwindled. As president, Trump has yet to tweet the word “science.”
“We are frustrated by the disregard for science shown by the U.S. administration. Our economy depends on innovation, science and technology, which should be top priorities for any nation’s leader,” said American Association for the Advancement of Science chief executive Rush Holt in a statement after the address. “As other countries increase their attention to and investments in science and technology, the United States will make falling behind a new reality.”
Fact-checking and analysis of Trump’s State of the Union 2018 address

The Washington Post is live-blogging President Trump’s first official State of the Union address to Congress tonight. The speech begins at 9p.m. Eastern time and the president is expected to be, well, presidential.

Post national reporters Ashley Parker and Michael Scherer write that Trump aides say “he will deliver a unifying speech on American values and patriotism, one that touches on everything from the just-passed Republican tax plan and the new immigration proposal to trade, infrastructure and national security. The question is whether the swirl of conflict and diversion that has monopolized so much of his first year in office will distract from the message he is trying to deliver.”

The Post’s chief congressional scribe, Paul Kane, points out that it’s not just Trump whose behavior can be unpredictable — it’s also that of “mercurial” congressional Republicans when it comes to the president.

From Paul: “Sometimes they are in bitter fights with Trump, challenging his nationalist policy approach as an affront to traditional conservatism while also questioning his mental fitness for office. Other times they drift into a deep public swoon for the president that seems to directly contradict their previous criticism.”

Check back here for frequent updates on the speech, including real-time fact-checking and analysis of what the president says on key issues like the economy, national security and infrastructure.