In July 2016, back when Trump was just the rich guy with the hair from The Apprentice running for the US presidency, we published a list of the downright anti-scientific statements that had been tooted from his mouth or, more likely, his Twitter.
A few months later, around the time of his inauguration in January 2017, he had said so many absurd statements related to science, we decided to give the article a fairly definitive update. We then had to publish a whole new second edition of that article earlier this year in light of numerous comments made by Trump and his motley crew.
Well, it’s now been two years since Trump won the election and the stream of unscientific nonsense has stayed as strong and steady as ever – quite the achievement considering half of his original staff have been elbowed out and replaced.
So, get those facepalms at the ready, here is the Third Edition of all the science that the 45th US President, Donald J Trump, and his cabinet deny. We will no doubt bring you the Fourth Edition very shortly.
HPV and HIV Are Not The Same
Trump once boasted that dodging STIs was “his personal Vietnam” in an interview with Howard Stern. However, his knowledge of HPV (human papillomavirus) is not so sharp.
According to Bill Gates, Donald Trump didn't grasp the difference between HIV and HPV. In Spring 2018, Gates met with Donald Trump to discuss the possibility of him becoming a science advisor. Although he respectfully declined the offer, one gem did emerge from the meeting: Trump asked Gates if there was a difference between HIV and HPV.
Stealth Aircraft Are "Literally" Invisible
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a damn impressive piece of machinery, equipped with stealth technology designed to make the craft less visible to radar, infrared, and radio-frequency detection. However, for all its technical wizardry, it's not literally invisible.
"You like the F-35?" Trump said at a military briefing in Puerto Rico in November 2017, according to The Guardian. "You can’t see it. You literally can’t see it. It’s hard to fight a plane you can’t see.”
Back in 2012, Trump tweeted this absolute doozy: "Remember, new 'environment friendly' lightbulbs can cause cancer. Be careful – the idiots who came up with this stuff don't care."
Enough said on that one.
FYI: “Nuclear Warming” Is Not A Thing
In the Trumpian worldview, global warming is the stuff of conspiracy Chinese industrialists and gullible liberal scientists. “NUCLEAR warming”, on the other hand, is the stuff of freedom-loving patriots and straight-talking businessmen.
Unfortunately, "nuclear warming" isn’t actually a thing. Nevertheless, in a sit-down interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity in July 2018, Trump claimed it should be our biggest concern.
“I know President Obama said global warming is our biggest problem and I would say that no, it's nuclear warming is our biggest problem by a factor of about five million.”
It didn’t appear to be a mere slip of the tongue, either. While campaigning at a town in Indiana in May 2015, he said: “I believe global warming is the single biggest problem in our country, but it’s made of the nuclear variety.”
In all fairness, it appears that he is referring to the rising geopolitical tensions between nuclear-armed states, namely US, Russia, and North Korea. However, we’re pretty sure this clunky buzzword is going to stick.
Asbestos Would Have Saved The Twin Towers
By the 1990s, large parts of the world banned or at least restricted the use of asbestos because of, you know, the whole undeniable links to cancer and other fatal health problems. However, according to Trump, our preoccupation with not killing people led to the destruction of our World Trade Center following the 9/11 terror attacks.
“If we didn't remove incredibly powerful fire-retardant asbestos & replace it with junk that doesn't work, the World Trade Center would never have burned down,” Trump tweeted in October 2012.
California Wildfires: Make America Rake Again
While Trump might be most at home in a Manhattan skyscraper, a Florida holiday resort, or a golf course, he is apparently an expert at forestry management too. On two separate occasions, Trump has made statements that the catastrophic wildfires in California were due to bad management.
This month, while the death toll of the California wildfires was still rising, he tweeted: “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor.” He then threatened to cut money from the forestry departments if they don't “remedy” the situation.
Needless to say, he is wrong. California’s wildfires are not a symptom of bad management. As many experts (and Axl Rose) quickly pointed out, a large portion of the area burning is not a forest, it’s suburban and built-up areas. While the cause can’t be boiled down to a single reason, it’s fair to comment that California’s wet winter followed by a long, dry, and baking hot summer is playing a major role. This type of intense prolonged weather is also a symptom of, you guessed it, climate change.
Trump made a similarly inane comment in August this year, saying the California wildfires are “made so much worse by the bad environmental laws” that oversee the firefighters' water being pumped into the Pacific. That is total nonsense, according to Associated Press Fact Check.
Trump also said that raking leaves would help California address their increasingly frequent wildfires.
“You gotta take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important,” Trump told reporters speaking from the heavily hit town of Paradise. “I was with the President of Finland and he said: ‘We have, much different, we are a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation. And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem.”
Not only is this ludicrous advice, but Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö also says he doesn’t remember talking to Trump about raking and forests at all.
The people of Finland reacted hilariously to the bizarre comments on social media using the hashtag #haravointi, which means “raking” in Finnish:
Climate Change Is Reversible And Not Human-Made, But Also Probably Not Happening
The landmark IPCC report, released in October 2018, saw leading scientists and diplomats digest over 6,000 peer-reviewed scientific studies in the hopes of clearly defining what’s at stake if climate change is not addressed and what we can do about rising global temperatures. The message was clear: act now or it will be seriously bad news.
Trump didn’t agree with them, though.
Speaking on the hot topic of climate change to CBS News in October, he said: “I think something's happening. Something's changing and it'll change back again. I don't think it's a hoax, I think there's probably a difference. But I don't know that it's manmade.”
That same month, he also told reporters at the Associated Press that scientists are divided on whether climate change is influenced by human activity, saying: "Some say that and some say differently, I mean you have scientists on both sides of it.”
That is not true either.
"There is no debate AT ALL going on about this within the scientific community,” Professor Donald Wuebbles, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois, told Associated Press Fact Check in light of those remarks.
To muddy the waters even further, Trump tweeted this old chestnut on 22 November 2018:
Pence: “Smoking Doesn't Kill”
Vice President Mike Pence wrote an op-ed in 2000 that stated: “Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill.” He added, “In fact, 2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking-related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer.”
It seems like he was trying to make some wider political point about how "big government " shouldn’t meddle with the freedoms of Americans. Nevertheless, writing the words "smoking doesn't kill" followed by misleading statistics that downplay the risk of tobacco is not a good look.
The Ben Carson Bonus Round
Ben Carson – Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former neurosurgeon – believes that ancient Egyptian pyramids were built by the Biblical figure Joseph to store grain.
He also endorses a strictly Seventh-day Adventist theology and a literal interpretation of the Bible chapter Genesis, meaning he thinks the world and all life was created in six days. Astrophysicists and geologists are fairly certain that isn’t the case. He also has a painting of himself with Jesus hanging in his hallway.