Donald Trump has finally explained why he has so much trouble getting his facts right on the reality of the global climate emergency. Turns out he’s just too “highly intelligent” to be taken in by his own government’s alarming national climate assessment.
“People like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers,” Trump told a team of Washington Post reporters, during what they describe as a “freewheeling 20-minute Oval Office interview” earlier this week. “As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it,” he added.
Trump’s comments were his “most extensive yet on why he disagrees with his own government’s analysis, which found that climate change poses a severe threat to the health of Americans, as well as to the country’s infrastructure, economy, and natural resources,” the Post reports. “The findings—unequivocal, urgent, and alarming—are at odds with the Trump administration’s rollback of environmental regulations and absence of any climate action policy.”
And next time, the administration might work to reshape the content of the national assessment, rather than just trying to bury it with a release on Black Friday, the day of the United States’ annual post-Thanksgiving shopping binge, Politico reported Wednesday. “Going forward, I think we need to take a look at the modeling that’s used for the next assessment,” said former Murray Coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, now acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“How can one possibly respond to this?” wrote Texas A&M atmospheric scientist Andrew Dessler, in an email to the Washington Post following Trump’s comments. Dessler called the statement “idiotic”, adding that “Trump’s main motivation seemed to be attacking the environmental policies of the Obama administration and criticizing political adversaries,” the Post writes.
“Facts aren’t something we need to believe to make them true—we treat them as optional at our peril,” added Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. “And if we’re the president of the United States, we do so at the peril of not just ourselves but the hundreds of millions of people we’re responsible for.”