Two GOP officials accuse White House of ‘purging’ officials linked to former President Donald Trump’s administration, after Betsy Weatherhead, career scientist appointed by Trump to lead government report on climate change , has been dismissed from his post.
Representatives James Comer of Kentucky and Ralph Norman of South Carolina said Weatherhead’s withdrawal was suspect and accused the Biden administration of targeting people who previously worked for Trump.
“It appears the Biden administration continues to purge government officials because of their ties to the Trump administration,” lawmakers wrote in a letter to Jane Lubchenco, deputy director of climate and environment at the Bureau of the science and technology policy of the White House, the Associated press reported.
Last month, Comer and Norman also asked to see Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) records, after dozens of scientists and other experts who worked with the Trump administration were pulled from two key advisory boards.
For more information on The Associated Press, see below.
Comer is the lead Republican on the House Oversight Committee, while Norman is the lead Republican on the group’s environment subcommittee. Weatherhead, a career scientist appointed in November to lead the broad national climate assessment, was reassigned last month to the US Geological Survey, an agency of the Home Office.
The White House declined to comment on why Weatherhead, a longtime climate scientist at the University of Colorado who also worked in the private sector, was fired from her post.
US Library of Congress / public domain
Weatherhead has been technically on loan to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy – which oversees the climate report – and “is returning to its home agency,” the White House said. No reason has been given, and officials have not said when a replacement will be appointed.
Weatherhead’s reassignment in the first few months of a new administration appears “purely on the basis of its ties to the Trump administration,” Comer and Norman wrote, and “demonstrates another example of a deeply troubling partisan political agenda” under President Joe Biden.
The National Climate Assessment is the US government’s definitive report on the effects of climate change and includes contributions from at least 13 government agencies. The most recent report, released in 2018, warns that natural disasters are worsening in the United States due to global warming.
Despite fears that Trump administration officials may tamper with its findings, the report has been widely hailed as accurately portraying the threat posed by climate change.
Trump, who has repeatedly downplayed or disputed the effects of climate change, said he had read part of the report “and everything is fine.” But Trump said he does not believe the report’s key finding that hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters are worsening due to global warming and are likely to cause hundreds of billions of dollars in damage. per year.
Biden, meanwhile, calls climate change an existential threat to the planet and has made efforts to slow global warming a top priority for his administration. He led a virtual global summit on climate change from the White House last month.