In August 2016, Republican Senator and noted climate change denier Jim Inhofe told conservative radio host Eric Metaxas that children were being “brainwashed” into believing in climate change in school, and that we needed to “un-brainwash” them once they come out. This entire exchange (available here) arose from a conversation Inhofe claims to have had with his granddaughter because she dared ask him why he doesn’t believe in climate change.
On March 16, 2017, more than eight months after Inhofe told Metaxas about this alleged brainwashing scam, the Senator decided to double-down on his previous comments. He told CNN’s New Day that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was in the business of “brainwashing our kids” by releasing “propaganda” about climate change and the role that human beings are playing in the destruction of the planet.
Inhofe was appearing on the program to defend the proposed budget cuts that are looming for the EPA. During his response to the budget cuts, Inhofe said the following, as reported by The Hill: “We want to deliver the services. We ought to make things clean … But we ought to take all this stuff that comes out of the EPA that's brainwashing our kids, that is propaganda, things that aren't true, allegations.”
Under the budget proposals laid out by President Trump on Thursday, the EPA’s budget will be cut by about 31 percent, which will include the complete termination of at least 50 EPA programs and result in the firing of at least 3,200 employees from the federal agency. The budget specifically cuts $100 million from climate change–related programs including research and international cooperation.
While Inhofe was willing to admit during his interview about the EPA that efforts like the Clean Air Act have provided cleaner air, he maintained that the agency is trying to brainwash children.
Inhofe’s statements are sure to draw the ire of both the scientific community and the concerned public, but perhaps the biggest critics he should fear are those in his own family tree.
As he personally pointed out in August, his own grandchildren don't understand his anti-science views on climate change, and those are the people who will feel the brunt of his anti-environmental legacy (such as the devastation of the Great Barrier Reef) more than Inhofe ever will.