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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

Go deeper

McCarthy jokes about hitting Pelosi with gavel if he becomes Speaker, in new audio

Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) can be heard saying "it would be hard not to hit" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker's gavel if Republicans retake the House in 2022 and he becomes speaker, according to new audio posted to Twitter by a Main Street Nashville reporter.

Driving the news: McCarthy made the comments during a fundraising event in Tennessee, as he was handed an oversized gavel by members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, reports CNN.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

U.S. and U.K. blame Iran for drone strike on oil tanker

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the United States and United Kingdom, respectively, now believe Iran was likely responsible for last week's drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian sea.

Why it matters: The United States and Britain now join Israel in accusing Tehran of being behind the July 29 attack off the coast of Oman. Iran has denied involvement.

9 hours ago - Sports

Suni Lee wins bronze medal in uneven bars

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won her 3rd Olympic medal on Sunday, taking home bronze in the individual uneven bars event.

Driving the news: Also on Sunday, U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner won the silver medal in the vault on Sunday after stepping in for Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to prioritize her mental health and well-being.