Nov 14, 2017

Trump won't meet with American Nobel recipients

President Barack Obama meets with the 2016 American Nobel Prize winners in the Oval Office. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Trump is breaking a nearly 20-year tradition by choosing not to meet personally with the eight American Nobel laureates this year before they head to Sweden for the awards ceremony, per STAT.

Get smart: Trump proved a long time ago that he wouldn't be bound by the precedents set by past presidents. His decision not to meet with the Nobel winners — which a White House spokesman said was a result of Trump's busy foreign travel schedule — follows several other similar choices, including forgoing Ramadan dinner and not having a White House pet.

The other side: Some of the honorees told STAT that they wouldn't have accepted an invitation to a White House event if they had been extended one. Columbia biophysicist Joachim Frank, who was awarded a Nobel in chemistry for his work in microscopy, said he was "very relieved" when he learned he wouldn't be meeting Trump, and thinks other winners probably were too. "I cannot speak for the others ... but I strongly believe that as thinking intelligent people they will have a similar attitude as I."

The precedent: Almost every year since 2001, the White House held an event in the winners' honor.

  • Barack Obama invited them to the White House every year of his presidency, except for 2009, when he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
  • George W. Bush attended the White House event each year, except for 2006, when former Vice President Dick Cheney greeted the group instead.
  • Bill Clinton held in-person meetings with the group on several occasions.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,513,358 — Total deaths: 88,415 — Total recoveries: 329,329Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 430,376 — Total deaths: 14,739 — Total recoveries: 23,707Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

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New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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