A confidential source on the Trump transition team has told The Liberty Conservative that Rep. Thomas Massie, an award-winning, MIT-educated engineer, elected to Congress in 2012, is under consideration for the job of Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, a role commonly known as Science Advisor to the President. Massie currently serves as Chairman for the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation in the House of Representatives.
Massie’s office did not respond to our requests for comment.
During his time at MIT, Massie invented a technology that enables people to interact with computers using their sense of touch, and leveraged that technology to found SensAble Technologies, Inc., which raised over $32 million of venture capital, created 70 jobs, and obtained 24 patents. According to his House of Representatives profile the hardware and software he developed is now used to design automobiles, jewelry, shoes, dental prosthetics, and even reconstructive implants for wounded soldiers.
Massie has a reputation for being one of the most libertarian Congressmen in Washington, with his initial Washington staff being composed almost entirely of former Ron Paul campaign or Congressional office staffers. Originally a backer of Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential run, Massie enthusiastically endorsed Trump in June, praising the President-elect as ‘better than 90 percent of the congressmen I serve with’ while serving as a Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention.
As Director for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Massie would serve as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the federal government.
During an interview with ScienceMag in 2012, Massie express skepticism of climate change being settled science, questioning whether financial incentives may factor into research on the matter:
“I have solar panels on my roof, and I’m talking to you on a phone that has been charged with solar panels. … I took a trip once to one of the inland glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, and there were stakes in the ground showing how much it had receded since the 1800s. And it was obvious to me that it had been melting since preindustrial times. …
“Most of the public is still debating whether the earth is heating up. But I think the real question is by how much? I’m still looking for an answer I can hold onto. …
“I honestly think that it’s an open question, and I hope you don’t write me off for that. I realize that there’s a conflict of interest for some of the people doing the research. I think some people are trying to integrate backwards, starting with the answer and working the other way. I think the jury is still out on the contribution of our activities to the change in the earth’s climate. …
“But to be on the safe side, I’ve got a thousand acres of trees on my property and I’m not going to cut them, even if that would be the profit-maximizing thing to do. And I don’t intend to cut them in my lifetime. And I see a lot of people who outwardly seem more concerned with the environment but aren’t doing anything about it.”
Massie also discussed how he reconciles his political ideology with his views on government in science:
“Of all the things our government does, research is probably one of the more worthwhile ones. But I’m not sure it moves the discussion forward in the short run to be asking if the government should be doing this or that, because next year, the reality is that it will be doing those things.
“The real question is, down the road, when we balance the budget, and we do need to balance the budget, how are we going to do it? And I think we’re probably going to have to cut everything.
“And this is where I part company with other Republicans. I think there will need to be cuts to the military as well. I think we’ll need to cut across the board. So if you’re asking if my ideology compels me to go to Washington and eliminate all research funding, the answer is no. But if you’re asking if my background compels me to say we need to double our spending on science, the answer is also no.”
As a member of Congress Massie has served on three committees, including the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He was also selected to become Chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure has jurisdiction over roads, bridges, mass transit, railroads, aviation, maritime and waterborne transit.
Should Massie be chosen for the position, he will join a growing list of libertarian members of Trump’s Administration.