GOP presidential candidates mock landmark Paris climate summit: Real problem is "climate right now between the races"

"We need a commander-in-chief NOT a meteorologist-in-chief"

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published December 1, 2015 7:36PM (EST)

  (AP/Reuters/Brendan McDermid/Chris Keane/Kevin Lamarque)
(AP/Reuters/Brendan McDermid/Chris Keane/Kevin Lamarque)

150 world leaders have gathered in Paris this week not to coalesce around a plan of attack to take out ISIL, but to tackle climate change and back in the United States, the Republicans battling to represent America on the global stage are left mocking the historic summit while Republican legislators in Washington, D.C. work to subvert any progress on the issue.

Donald Trump

The Republican frontrunner dismissed President Obama's Paris declaration that climate change is one of America's greatest national security threats as one of the "dumbest things" ever said.

"I think one of the dumbest statements I've ever heard in politics -- in the history of politics as I know it, which is pretty good, was Obama's statement that our No. 1 problem is global warming," Trump said Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Ted Cruz 

At a town hall meeting in Iowa on Monday, Texas senator Ted Cruz joked that President Obama “apparently thinks having an SUV in your driveway is more dangerous than a bunch of terrorists trying to blow up the world,” according to Politico.

Chris Christie 

"The president is focused on the wrong climate change," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argued this morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" in between boasting about his Superstorm Sandy rebuilding efforts.

"The climate change that we need is the climate change in this country," he asserted, deflecting away from the global summit when asked about America's leadership role. "You know the climate right now between people and their government is just poisonous. The climate right now between the races is as bad as it's been in the last eight years. The climate between those who believe deeply in religion and those who are more secular is worse than it's ever been," Christie said. Unsurprisingly, Christie remains one of the few presidential candidates who has still not condemned America's latest mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic on Black Friday and despite chiding President Obama for sowing division during his presidency, Christie was never once asked about his rhetoric tying Black Lives Matter protestors and President Obama to violence against police officers during his "Morning Joe" interview.

"What I'm saying is it's not a crisis," Christie explained, arguing that there is no "evidence" of a crisis. "The climate has been changing forever and it will always change and man will always contribute to it.  It's not a crisis."

"What scientists are you relying on to say it's not a crisis?" Bloomberg's Mark Halperin followed-up.

"That's my feeling.  I didn't say I was relying on any scientist. I don't see evidence - I don't see evidence -- that it's a crisis. I don't," Christie barked.

Mike Huckabee 

The lowly second-tier candidate didn't waste an opportunity to take a jab at President Obama and took to his Twitter to reduce the threat of climate change to increased "sunburns" and mock the president as a "meteorologist-in-chief":

Carly Fiorina

“Hillary Clinton and President Obama are both delusional when they say that our most pressing national security issues is climate change,” Carly Fiorina said at a campaign stop in South Carolina on Monday. “It is not. It is ISIS.”

Watch both Fiorina and Ted Cruz's campaign trail mockery of global efforts to combat climate change, via Politico:

Congressional Republicans 

House Republicans are gearing up to pass two bills to repeal the Obama administration’s most significant executive action tackling climate change today, new Environmental Protection Agency rules curbing power-plant emissions.

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is voicing his opposition to any climate change loud enough to be heard by world leaders in Paris. "With all due respect to the president as our commander-in-chief," McConnell said during a Senate floor speech this week, "governments currently engaged in this round of climate talks will want to know that there is more than just an executive branch in our system of government”:

Watch our summary of what's happening at the COP21 climate change summit:
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By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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