On 60 Minutes Trump Says: 'I'm Not Denying Climate Change'

Read time: 3 mins
Donald and Melania Trump tour Florida after Hurricane Michael

By Kert Davies, Climate Investigations Center. Originally posted on Climate Investigations Center.

Climate change is coming at Trump even as he tries like hell to avoid the subject. Record-setting hurricanes, Florence and Michael, have caused devastation across the southeast United States. Meanwhile, the grim UN IPCC “1.5 degree” report pushed climate scientists into the headlines last week while Trump was out and about, apparently unleashed, talking to media.

Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes, got the first big sit down interview and went at climate change right off the bat. Pivoting off Hurricane Michael and the IPCC report, Stahl pressed Trump to answer straight questions about climate change.

This is the most Trump has been forced to say on the subject of global warming since his Rose Garden celebration announcing that the U.S. would exit the Paris climate agreement, where he managed to barely mention climate change.

Overall, Trump responds to Stahl’s questions with the typical denier tropes, which he likely learned from Rush Limbaugh, Myron EbellMarc Morano, and the Heartland Institute:

Somethings changing and it’ll change back again.”

And you don’t know whether or not that would have happened with or without man. You don’t know.”

We have scientists that disagree with that [anthropogenic climate change].”

But it [climate change] could very well go back.”

But I don’t know that it’s [climate change] manmade.”

They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael.”

You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda, Lesley.”

Trump also deployed a empty economic argument against taking action, one commonly used by deniers:

I will say this. I don’t wanna give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t wanna lose millions and millions of jobs. I don’t wanna be put at a disadvantage.”

Read the full 60 Minutes interview transcript.

Deniers Would Rather Trump Said Nothing

Trump said a couple of things the deniers don’t really want him to say, including:

I don’t think it’s a hoax” and “I’m not denying climate change.”

Joe Bast, former CEO of the Heartland Institute, and his climate denier kin are happiest when the President doesn’t talk about it at all. A year ago, Bast provided his reason for applauding the President’s silence, quoted and memorialized in the video below:

The President has done a great job by not talking about global warming. The less the President talks about it, the less often it appears in news stories and on TV, the less often its going to be an issue. So, this is how big issues disappear.“

Trump Questioned on Climate by Reporters in Georgia While Touring Hurricane Damage

Predictions for Hurricane Michael went from a predicted Category 1 on October 7 to making landfall at just below Category 5 three days later, surprising meteorologists and foiling predictive computer models.

While touring areas damaged by the massive storm in Georgia on Monday, reporters continued to press Trump on climate change and he continued trying to change the subject and inform us that he has “the cleanest air on the planet.”

Main image: President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit Florida after Hurricane Michael. Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead, public domain

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