Scientific American announces 1st-ever presidential endorsement in magazine’s 175-year history

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has been endorsed by Scientific American, marking the magazine’s first-ever endorsement of a presidential candidate in its 175-year history, according to the magazine’s October issue.

“This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly,” the magazine’s endorsement reads.

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The science publication stated that President Donald Trump “has badly damaged” the United States, citing what the magazine said is scientific evidence to back the claims.

“The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September,” the magazine said. “He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges.”

The magazine stated it was compelled to share the decision to endorse Joe Biden due to what it called the president’s politicization of scientific facts.

“The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump's rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic in the U.S,” the magazine read.

The magazine asserted that the president did not provide adequate personal protective equipment, testing or clear health guidelines at the onset of the pandemic, citing a failure to provide enough COVID-19 testing as well as not providing solid guidelines for efficient contact tracing.

“...countries in Europe and Asia have gained control over their outbreaks, saved lives, and successfully reopened businesses and schools. But in the U.S., Trump claimed, falsely, that ‘anybody that wants a test can get a test.’ That was untrue in March and remained untrue through the summer. Trump opposed $25 billion for increased testing and tracing that was in a pandemic relief bill as late as July,“ according to the magazine.

The publication claimed that “lapses accelerated the spread” of COVID-19 throughout the U.S. and more so specifically in communities where there are higher populations of people of color.The magazine also bashed Trump’s handling of climate change, stating, “Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it.”

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“Trump also keeps pushing to eliminate health rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, putting people at more risk for heart and lung disease caused by pollution. He has replaced scientists on agency advisory boards with industry representatives,” the magazine stated.

The magazine said it based its unprecedented endorsement of Biden on its opinion that the former vice president “comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making. He solicits expertise and has turned that knowledge into solid policy proposals.”

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The magazine also pointed to Biden’s $2 trillion plan on an emissions-free power sector by 2035. While the magazine recognized that it would ultimately be up to Congress to pass some of the proposed ideas Biden has announced, the publication said that Biden “is acutely aware that we must heed the abundant research showing ways to recover from our present crises and successfully cope with future challenges.”

“The 2020 election is literally a matter of life and death. We urge you to vote for health, science and Joe Biden for President,” the magazine wrote in a tweet announcing their October issue.

While Scientific American contended that the president has not adequately responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump and his administration said otherwise.

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“President Trump has listened to the medical experts every step of the way to fight the coronavirus, and the experts agree that the restriction on travel from China saved thousands of American lives. We know that Joe Biden would not have restricted travel from China, because he called it ‘xeonophobic’ and ‘fear-mongering,’ and we would be in a far worse situation today if he had been president at the time,” according to Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director.

Trump recalled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., touring San Francisco's Chintown in late February in an apparent bid to ease fears about the virus in a recent interview on FOX News' “Hannity.”

"Nobody wanted me to do the ban on China, and as you know, shortly thereafter, I [instituted] a ban on [travel from] Europe, and that was even more controversial, and it was good, because I saw what was going on in Italy and in Spain and in France, and we did a ban there," Trump said. "And if we didn't do those bans, we would have had numbers that were much, much [worse]."

Trump also criticized Democratic governors for keeping their states on lockdown, citing the swing states of North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

"If you look at some of the states like North Carolina and Pennsylvania -- you look at what they are doing -- they are shut down, they are still shut down," said the president, adding, "it's a shame -- They don't know what they're doing, frankly."

FOX TV Stations also reached out to Biden’s campaign for comment on the endorsement, but has not yet received a response.

There's been some pushback on Scientific American's endorsement of Biden. Editor-in-Chief Laura Helmuth said the magazine has been monitoring requests for canceled subscriptions and has received some — many from people who weren't subscribers, anyway.

Conservative columnist S.E. Cupp tweeted that while she agreed with the magazine's arguments and planned to vote for Biden, “I do have mixed feelings on whether this is a good use of scientific clout and credibility.”

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Psychologist and writer Geoffrey Miller said that the magazine was betraying 175 years of principled bipartisanship “for the sake of some cheap, short-sighted, opportunistic virtue signaling.”

“I'm old enough to remember when your magazine had some integrity,” he tweeted.

But Helmuth said the magazine has not ignored politics: The Atomic Energy Commission burned 3,000 copies of an issue in the 1950s because of its stance against the hydrogen bomb. The magazine has been running more opinion pieces lately, and, in 2016, wrote an editorial questioning Trump's fitness to be president, although it didn't endorse Hillary Clinton.

“Part of our magazine’s mission is to show people how the world works – whether it’s black holes, evolution, viruses, or systemic racism,” Helmuth said. “We felt it was our duty as part of that mission to warn people that Trump has been disastrous for research, science, health and the environment.”

FOX News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.