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President Donald Trump arrives for the G7 official welcome at Le Manoir Richelieu. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

As President Trump defends his means of preparedness for the historic summit with North Korea, the New York Times points out that he is doing so absent of a science adviser to the White House, or a senior counselor trained in nuclear physics.

Why it matters: The veteran negotiator is sticking to his trademark of running matters his own way as the Times details that he is "the first president since 1941 not to name a science adviser." And former nuclear negotiators caution that the lack of an adviser with such experience in the field "could put him at a tactical disadvantage in one of the weightiest diplomatic matters of his presidency."

He's not alone: The State Department, too, is without a chief scientist to handle matters including global warming and cybersecurity. As is the Department of Agriculture — its nominee, Sam Clovis, a former talk-show host with no scientific background, per the Times, withdrew his name, and the administration has not followed up with a nomination to the position since.

The impact, per the Times: "These and other decisions have consequences for public health and safety and the economy. Both the Interior Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have disbanded climate science advisory committees. The Food and Drug Administration disbanded its Food Advisory Committee, which provided guidance on food safety."

The big picture: Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton, tells the Times: "I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the post-World War II period where issues as important as nuclear weapons are on the table, and there is no serious scientist there to help the president through the thicket."

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.