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Science policy in limbo as Trump takes office

Donald Trump met with tech industry leaders including venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Apple CEO Tim Cook last month. (Pool via YouTube)
Donald Trump met with tech industry leaders including venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Apple CEO Tim Cook last month. (Pool via YouTube)

Although President Donald Trump says he’s ready to delve into the mysteries of space, he still has to make key appointments at NASA and other agencies dealing with science and technology policy.

And some of the picks he’s already made pose challenges. For example, his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency has in the past filed lawsuits against the EPA. And his nominee for energy secretary, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, once sought to have that Cabinet department eliminated (even though he couldn’t remember that during a debate).

Here’s a quick rundown on the questions surrounding seven agencies that deal with science and technology policy.

Get the full rundown on GeekWire.

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Tech shines as bright spot in Trump’s speech

Donald Trump
Donald Trump vows to “Make America Great Again” in his inaugural address. (Pool via YouTube)

Donald Trump’s first address as president may have sounded like a “Make America Great Again” campaign speech, but he did include at least a few bright words about the promise of science and technology.

“We stand at the birth of a new millennium,” he said at the U.S. Capitol after his swearing-in, “ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights and heal our divisions.”

Trump’s references to the technologies of tomorrow provided some relief in an inaugural address that drew the same battle lines that the unconventional candidate laid out during the campaign.

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Surveys point to continuing partisan divide

Clinton and Trump
Surveys suggest the divide between Democrats and Republicans will persist. (GeekWire Graphic)

Will America come together in the wake of this week’s presidential inauguration? The prospects for that appear dim, based on a trio of surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center.

One of the surveys, released today, hits a new low for political division: Eighty-six percent of the respondents said the country is more politically divided these days than in the past, while only 12 percent say it’s not more divided. That pessimism was shared by Republicans and Democrats in nearly equal measure.

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Boeing donates $1 million to Trump inauguration

Trump Force One
The plane that Donald Trump used during the campaign, nicknamed Trump Force One, is a Boeing 757-200 jet. (Trump Organization via YouTube)

The Boeing Co. donated its traditional $1 million to support President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration celebration, days before Trump dinged the jetmaker over the projected multibillion-dollar cost of the future Air Force One planes.

“We are pleased to continue our tradition of supporting presidential inaugurations,” Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe told GeekWire in an emailed statement.

That traditional level is $1 million, the same amount that Boeing contributed for President Barack Obama’s inaugural ceremonies in 2013.

The Trump inaugural committee sent out its package for underwriting next month’s festivities a little more than a week ago, and Boeing quickly got on board.

The donation was firmed up by Dec. 5 – a day before Trump tweeted his displeasure about the Air Force One cost estimates, complained that Boeing “is doing a little bit of a number,” and called for a cancellation of the order.

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