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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.

Go deeper

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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