On Wednesday, an article in The New York Times stated that in his first couple of days in office, President Donald Trump has engaged in a “war with math.”
I’d go a step further and say the Trump administration has begun a campaign against all things studied in STEM fields, and subsequently, a crusade against facts.
It was only a day into his presidency when the first bomb was dropped. Sean Spicer, the president’s new press secretary, reprimanded journalists for doing their job and reporting on the small size of the crowd at this year’s inauguration compared to the size of the crowd at Obama’s inaugurations. Spicer said that Trump’s inauguration had the “largest audience to ever to witness an inauguration,” citing specifically the 420,000 people who used the Metro to go and see the new president be sworn in, compared to the 317,000 people used it to see Obama in 2013.
But this isn’t true. The 2017 inauguration saw 570,500 people using the trains, while 782,000 people used them in 2013, and 1.1 million in 2009.
Four days later, Trump forced a freeze of federal grants from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services, and a bar on communications from those agencies along with the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Agriculture. While this is a typical move by new administrations, Trump’s rhetoric over the campaign make these orders feel like a direct attack on environmental protection and scientific research—things which line up with Republican Party platform to deny climate change and advocate against developing renewable energy sources.
Finally, on Wednesday, Trump made the latest surge across the battlefield, tweeting for a “major investigation” into the alleged three to five million fraudulent voters who cast ballots in 2016. This is one number range Trump has embraced. Interestingly, it’s also roughly the amount Clinton won by in the popular vote. The “findings” in this study will be likely be used to create a federal voter suppression law, a solution to a problem that does not exist.
Facts alone won’t be enough to combat this administration. Trump, his team and the Republican Congress have shown that they are willing to lie or sit idly by in order to further their agenda. We should follow the example of the Badlands National Park social media manager, who on Tuesday tweeted facts about climate change in retaliation to the orders signed by Trump. Shout your facts from the rooftops, debate your friends (if they still are friends) who agree with Trump’s version of events, tweet, post on Facebook – do everything you can to make sure that the facts are heard.