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Physicist William Happer arrives in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, NY on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

One of the Trump administration's fiercest climate skeptics William Happer is leaving his position on the White House National Security Council on Friday, according to E&E News.

Why it matters: Happer's resignation comes after he failed to encourage the White House to challenge the government's official description of climate change as a national security threat. He was one of the White House's strongest voices against climate science, per E&E News.

Context: Happer joined the staff of Trump's National Security Council in the fall of 2018, earning widespread criticism from House Democrats.

  • Happer is not a formal climate scientist, but he is a physicist at Princeton University.
  • He has made claims that are unsupported by science, including that the earth is in a carbon dioxide "drought" and that burning more fossil fuels will make the planet more habitable to humans.

The big picture, via Axios' Amy Harder: Happer's efforts, had he succeeded, would have represented the most aggressive, full-frontal attack on climate science coming out of the White House, but his resignation doesn't change the basic thrust of Trump's position.

  • The president has aggressively dismissed and mocked climate change, while his administration has wiped websites of its mention and repealed regulations addressing it. None of that will change with Happer gone.

Go deeper: Trump administration voids requirements phasing out inefficient lightbulbs

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

8 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.