Nov. 14 (UPI) — Trump cited travel conflicts as the reason for bucking precedent to meet with the American winners of the prestigious prize. Winners have historically met with the U.S. president before leaving for Sweden to receive their honors.
“The president congratulates this year’s Nobel laureates,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said. “The White House is unable to make an event work given the demands on the president’s schedule, including a 12-day trip to Asia.”
Not all the Nobel laureates are disappointed by missing out on the meeting.
Joachim Frank, a biophysicist at Columbia University and a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, said he wouldn’t have attended the White House event even if he had been invited and said he was “very relieved” when he realized there would be no meeting with the president.
“I will not put my foot into the White House as long as Trump, Pence, or Ryan (i.e., the possible succession of impeachments) will occupy it,” Frank told STAT News. “I cannot speak for the others; don’t know them personally yet, but I strongly believe that as thinking intelligent people they will have a similar attitude as I.”
Altogether, seven other Americans were honored as Nobel laureates this year. One other winner told STAT they wouldn’t have honored Trump’s invitation if he asked to meet.
The White House has hosted Nobel winners since 2001, and Bill Clinton also held in-person greetings with the winning group on numerous occasions during his presidency.
Scientists orchestrated a ‘March for Science’ to protest Trump in the Spring.