Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), says he has not met with anyone from the Trump transition team and does not know if he was being considered for the position of director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) or for Secretary of Energy. A source that said they worked for the Trump transition team earlier told Reason that Massie’s name had come up in talks about the OSTP position.
“This is all just speculation,” Massie explained. “But from my end, I would consider either of those positions if I was approached.”
Massie stressed that before he made any decision he would assess where he could “provide the most value” and whether that was from the legislative branch or the executive branch.
“My thing here in Congress is we need to restore the balance of government, and reassert legislative authority,” Massie said, pointing out that Trump would not do that because it wasn’t his role.
“That’s the role of our leaders here in the House,” Massie continued, “so because he’s going to be aggressive and try and get his agenda complete, I don’t hold that against him. At the same time there’s a role for Congress to play, and right now that’s the role I’m in, which is, OK, how are we going to pay for all this?”
Massie told Reason he believed the primary role for the director of the OSTP, also known as the president’s science advisor, would be “to separate the pseudo-science from the science” since the president is likely to be approached by a lot of different people seeking money for a variety of ideas.
“I think it takes an in-depth analysis of a lot of different proposals that are brought to the president to determine which ones have merit, scientific, or economic,” Massie explained. “Somebody that can do the math, and the analysis, or assemble a team that can do that.”
Massie said he believed one of Trump’s biggest assets during the transition is that people underestimate him, comparing the president-elect to Kentucky’s governor, Matt Bevin, a businessman who unsuccessfully ran against Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Republican senate primary before winning the 2015 governor’s race. Massie says no one was expecting Bevin to win the general, and that he was trailing in four or five independent polls taken before the election.
“Then when he came in office, he’s been by all measures at least by Republican measures a very successful governor in the first 11 months,” Massie explained. “What he did was he assembled an incredibly talented cabinet.”
“So many people underestimated Governor Bevin when he came in, based on the campaigns and the expectations set by his opponents,” Massie continued, “that when he came in he so far exceeded all these expectations. I think you’ll see the same with Trump.”
Massie predicted that Trump would be “way more serious than anyone in the media predicted, and I think he’s going to be vey competent.”
In July, Massie said he believed Trump was better than 90 percent of his fellow members of Congress. Massie told Reason he believed Trump was showing himself to be better “in understanding how the country works, in connecting to people outside of the belt way, in terms of organizing groups that work, versus the dysfunction that you see here in Congress.” Massie suggested a lot of that dysfunction came from Congress being full of people who are “ill-equipped” to organize anything. “Trump has experience with organizing people and talent and producing results,” said Massie. “And I think Donald Trump’s better than 90 percent of my colleagues at doing that.”
The Trump transition team’s press information has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Massie spoke at Reason Weekend earlier this year: