President Donald Trump has no staff left in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy as the three remaining staff of the department vacated their posts this week, reports revealed.
On Friday, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) was officially unstaffed after the three last holdouts from former President Barack Obama’s administration decided to leave their jobs in the Science Division, CBS News reports.
Eleanor Celeste, a biomedical and forensic expert, was among the three employees who departed the Science Division on June 30. The former OSTP employee took to Twitter and bid her goodbye to the office.
In her tweet, Celeste shared a photo of the OSTP Science Division signage and captioned it with, “Science division out. Mic drop.”
Kumar Garg, a former OSTP staff, also confirmed on Twitter that the Science Division now has zero staffers as of July 1.
The Science Division is one of the four within OSTP. According to reports, it used to have nine staff members — all from Obama administration. It aims to highlight innovative science research under Presidents Obama and Trump. In total, Obama staffed the entire OSTP with over 100 employees.
In addition, the OSTP Science Division is in charge of policy issues such as STEM education, biotechnology, and crisis response.
science division out. mic drop. pic.twitter.com/RoYTJqLoXa
— Elle Celeste (@elleabella1112) June 30, 2017
By COB today, number of staffers in White House OSTP's Science Division = 0. https://t.co/o4dsn4y3hO
— Kumar Garg (@KumarAGarg) June 30, 2017
With the Science Division unstaffed, many assume that their ongoing projects were left pending. It remains unclear if Trump will replace the staff or if their work will be delegated to other OSTP employees.
However, an anonymous White House official confirmed to CBS News that all of the work that the division has been doing is still being done. The same source added that a total of 35 staffers currently work across the OSTP.
It was also pointed out that under the previous administration, the OSTP usually held “50 to 60 or so policy experts, director-level people” — a far cry from its current situation.
Garg, a former OSTP staff who also tweeted on Friday, reiterated that the number of OSTP’s employees reflected Obama’s “strong belief in science, the growing intersection of science and technology in a range of policy issues, and as showcased in the OSTP exit memo, in a sweeping range of [science and technology] accomplishments by the Obama science team.”
Many were quick to point out the Trump’s administration has not shown the same enthusiasm for science compared to its predecessor. There were even claims that the president has a noticeably hostile tone when it comes to the scientific community, adding that he usually seems “uninterested” to learn about their work.
Trump, who recently opted out of the Paris climate change agreement, is also being criticized for proposing double-digit budget cuts to the country’s top scientific agencies.
Despite Trump’s alleged lack of interest in science, the White House has decided to push through with the traditional science fair, which was launched under the Obama administration.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]