President Trump talks to journalists during a Cabinet meeting. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump finally has a top science official in place after veteran meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier was confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote Wednesday to head the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Why it matters: Trump took longer to name a science adviser than any other president since Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Trump administration has been grappling with complex science topics with a depleted science staff and no OSTP director.

  • The OSTP coordinates science policy across the federal government and conducts outreach to the private sector. Topics it works on range from the delicate nuclear negotiations with North Korea to quantum computing, AI and climate change.

The big picture: Once he starts work, Droegemeier will stand out within the administration for his mainstream views on climate science and other issues about which the president has baselessly spurned scientific evidence.

  • Trump has rejected the scientific evidence proving that human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, are causing the planet to warm, thereby worsening extreme weather events like heat waves and heavy precipitation events.

Details: Droegemeier served as the vice president for research and Regent's Professor of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. He has a particular expertise in next-generation radar technology to predict severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

  • He is no stranger to federal science agencies, having served two six-year terms on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation, under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama. Since 2017, he has served as secretary of science and technology for Oklahoma's Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

What they're saying: The Science Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of more than 50 of the nation’s leading public and private research universities, applauded Droegemeier's appointment.

  • "Dr. Droegemeier is a strong voice for science and federal research funding and is ideally suited to oversee continued growth of essential federal research programs," the group said in a statement.

Go deeper: On climate change, Trump disavows his own scientists, government

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Americans reflect on Independence Day amid racism reckoning

A Black Lives Matter banner and a United States flag on the facade of the U.S. embassy building in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's leaders are rethinking how they view Independence Day, as the country reckons with the historic, unequal treatment of people of color during a pandemic which has disproportionately affected nonwhite Americans.

Why it matters: The country’s legacy of racism has come into sharp focus in the weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. From Confederate statues to Mount Rushmore, Americans are reexamining the symbols and traditions they elevate and the history behind them.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 11,031,905 — Total deaths: 523,777 — Total recoveries — 5,834,337Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 2,788,395 — Total deaths: 129,306 — Total recoveries: 790,404 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  5. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
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Washington Redskins to review team name amid public pressure

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have announced they will be conducting a review of the team's name after mounting pressure from the public and corporate sponsors.

Why it matters: This review is the first formal step the Redskins are taking since the debate surrounding the name first began. It comes after weeks of discussions between the team and the NFL, the team said.