Inhofe: So much more than just a climate change denier

Seven other reasons why the Oklahoma Republican and Google make strange bedfellows

Published July 11, 2013 7:48PM (EDT)

James Inhofe                (AP/Susan Walsh)
James Inhofe (AP/Susan Walsh)

Environmentalists and other liberal groups are lining up to protest against Google's decision to hold a fundraiser with Sen. James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma who also happens to be one of the most hard-line climate change deniers in Congress.

Google, as the Washington Post put it, "has spent years building a reputation as a company that cares about the environment, investing in solar energyclimate research, and wind farms." Inhofe, on the other hand, has alternately called climate change "the greatest hoax ever" and declared that "we're in a cold spell" whenever it snows.

But Inhofe's right-wing hard-lining goes deeper than just climate change denial. Here are some of the highlights:

  • This past May, Inhofe argued that federal aid for Hurricane Sandy victims -- which he voted against -- and federal aid for victims of the devastating Oklahoma tornado -- which he supported -- were "totally different." He said of Sandy at the time: Everybody was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place. That won’t happen in Oklahoma.”
  • In 2010, Inhofe threatened to boycott the  annual Tulsa "Holiday Parade Of Lights" because the “forces of political correctness” took “Christmas” out of the title. “I’m not going to ride in a Christmas parade that doesn’t recognize Christmas,” he said.
  • In May 2011, Inhofe decried a program pushed by the International Committee of the Red Cross to allow Guantánamo Bay detainees to receive visits from their families. Why? "You know what the biggest problem in Gitmo is right now?" Inhofe asked. "It’s obesity. They’re eating better than they’ve ever eaten before, they have better medical care, they have legal counsel. You gotta draw the line somewhere, let’s draw it here.”
  • In April of this year, just a few months after the Sandy Hook school shootings, Inhofe accused the Obama administration of using the families of the victims for political reasons, because they joined the president onstage for a speech to push gun control legislation. “See, I think it’s so unfair of the administration to hurt these families, to make them think this has something to do with them when, in fact, it doesn’t,” Inhofe contended.
  • Also in May of this year, Inhofe was discussing Hillary Clinton's angry outburst at the hearings on the attacks on Benghazi, when she asked, “What difference, at this point, does it make” if the attacks were the result of a protest or not. He remarked: “I think that she has gotten by with that type of a forceful attitude, something that’s not normally accustomed — that you don’t hear from women as much as you do men. And she came out so forcefully, and you could tell that it was orchestrated at the time that she said it,” he said.
  • And then there was Inhofe's recent embrace of a conspiracy theory that the Department of Homeland Security is purchasing extra ammunition in order to thwart gun owners by buying up the market -- a theory that even the NRA has disavowed. Unfazed, Inhofe introduced a bill in April to prevent government agencies, except for the military, from buying more ammunition than the monthly average from 2001-2009.
  • Bonus bizarre incident: In October 2010, Inhofe “scared the crap out of” some airport workers, as one worker on the site put it, when he landed his Cessna on a runway that was closed for construction, marked as such with a large "X," at Cameron County Airport in Texas. According to the FAA report on the incident, Inhofe "sky hopped" over six vehicles on the runway, as well as the personnel working construction. Inhofe agreed to and completed a “program of remedial training" instead of facing legal action -- but that did not stop him from eventually pushing a bill that would protect pilots from the FAA's “agency overreach."

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Climate Change Google James Inhofe Oklahoma Republicans War On Christmas