I think he looks at “science” as something elitist and with no return on investment. He has bought into a stereotype of science as having no practical application, and scientists as being airy-fairy heads-in-the-sky types. He seems to think government science grants are a scam (perhaps projection on his part?) I believe he is much more interested in making money, and having big corporations make money. Corporate executives have told him that EPA regulations cost them money; ergo, out go the regulations. Climate scientists are only into it for the grant money, therefore, get rid of climate science. He thinks corporations should fund science, not government.
The scientists I follow on Twitter and blogs are all aghast. The overall feeling is that the US is going to fall further and further behind on basic and advanced science research, and the technological, medical, and social applications based on it. Macron, France’s president, has offered full four-year funding of research for any scientists willing to move there.