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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The editor-in-chief of the journal Science called out President Trump's response to the novel coronavirus in an op-ed Wednesday, saying "distortion and denial is dangerous and almost certainly contributed to the federal government’s sluggish response."

The big picture: H. Holden Thorp wrote that while Trump is banking on the quick and effective development of a vaccine for COVID-19, the president has not always embraced science. Thorp asserts, "While scientists are trying to share facts about the epidemic, the administration either blocks those facts or restates them with contradictions."

  • The piece lamented that Vice President Mike Pence was named head of the White House's coronavirus task force, saying: "This is not a time for someone who denies evolution, climate change, and the dangers of smoking to shape the public message."

What he's saying: Thorp wrote...

  • "Anthony Fauci, the long-time leader of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been telling the president repeatedly that developing the vaccine will take at least a year and a half—the same message conveyed by pharmaceutical executives. Apparently, Trump thought that simply repeating his request would change the outcome."
  • "The administration has repeatedly said—as it did last week—that virus spread in the United States is contained, when it is clear from genomic evidence that community spread is occurring in Washington state and beyond."
  • "After 3 years of debating whether the words of this administration matter, the words are now clearly a matter of life and death."

The bottom line, per Thorpe, "A vaccine has to have a fundamental scientific basis. It has to be manufacturable. It has to be safe. This could take a year and a half—or much longer. ... But do us a favor, Mr. President. If you want something, start treating science and its principles with respect."

Go deeper

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.