Analysis & Opinions - Union of Concerned Scientists

What I Wish I Had Said on CNN About Trump's 'Lysol and Sunshine' Speech

| Apr. 29, 2020

As an occasional contributor to broadcast news on topics such as climate change and the role of science in policy, I rarely find myself commenting on the hot-off-the-press issue of the day. Experts like me are brought on when the news cycle slows, an intelligent sideshow to add gravitas while the real pundits get frothy about the latest political snub or personality gaffe. We are the warm-up act, like an author doing a reading before a concert; we're more like a PSA than a feature.

So when I appeared on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront on April 23, I did not expect to be asked front-page questions. I expected instead to be talking about what the world was experiencing firsthand in the coronavirus pandemic: the tragic effects that come to pass when politicians ignore science. Clearly, the role of science in policy has become an issue of interest to Americans, and Erin and her producers were keenly interested in the risks of ignoring science, and the role of whistleblowers and other civil servant experts who are trying to do their jobs despite political interference.

As a whistleblowing scientist, I had plenty of material to provide, and I was more than ready to bring it to the American living room shortly after the presidential press conference that evening....

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For Academic Citation:

Clement, Joel."What I Wish I Had Said on CNN About Trump's 'Lysol and Sunshine' Speech." Union of Concerned Scientists, April 29, 2020.