Perhaps trying to take attention away from his ongoing impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, President Donald Trump on Tuesday posited a question to his Twitter followers and suggested that they were better off now than they were before he took office.
Many, however, disputed that assertion. As of the publication of this article, Trump’s tweet on the matter has officially been “ratio’d” — that is, more have replied (typically with complaints) than retweeted it.
“Are you better off now than you were three years ago?” Trump asked his audience. “Almost everyone say YES!”
Are you better off now than you were three years ago? Almost everyone say YES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2020
There are a number of ways to measure whether someone is better off now than they were in 2017. But in one big way, things have gotten much worse over the past few years, not better…and Trump has played a hand in it, according to one group of scientists.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, an international organization whose mission is to equip “the public, policymakers, and scientists with the information needed to reduce man-made threats to our existence,” issued a press release on January 23 to discuss the current position of its “Doomsday Clock,” which serves as an allegorical metaphor for who close to global annihilation the entirety of humanity is due to a number of different causes.
Historically, the clock has been viewed in the lens of the Cold War era, where developments in nuclear weaponry and tensions between East and West could result in the clock “ticking” closer to midnight (doomsday). But the clock hasn’t looked exclusively at nuclear issues, and has addressed other scientific concerns as well — such as the threat that global climate change poses on the world.
This year, the organization moved the clock to 100 seconds to midnight — the closest it’s been to “doomsday” since its inception.
“Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers — nuclear war and climate change — that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond,” the organization wrote in its press release.
A “willingness of political leaders to reject the negotiations and institutions that can protect civilization over the long term” was also deemed as a major reason why the clock moved closer to midnight.
By pulling out of international treaties and unilaterally attacking other countries, Trump is making our nation – and our world – less safe. It’s more important than ever that we prioritize diplomacy and peace. https://t.co/unV6PjuEaa
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) January 24, 2020
Indeed, although it didn’t exclusively single him out, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists did recognize Trump’s role in their decision to change the time on the clock — including his inability to broker a denuclearization deal with North Korea and rising tensions there, hostilities with Iran and the pullout from a treaty that kept them nuclear-free, and the decision by Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change agreement was a dire mistake. Whoever wins the 2020 US presidential election should reverse that decision,” the scientific organization advised.