President Donald Trump's staffers are ducking tough questions about whether their boss, who just pulled America out of the Paris climate accord, acknowledges the scientific fact of man-made global warming.
When an official was asked about Trump's acceptance of climate science, Politico reports that the individual replied, "The fact that the president in his speech today said that he wants to come back and renegotiate a better deal for the United States and for the world, I think, pretty much speaks for itself."
Press secretary Sean Spicer, on the other hand, responded to questions about the president's views on science by saying (according to another Politico report), "Honestly, I haven’t asked him. I can get back to you. … I don’t know. I honestly haven’t asked him that specific question."
In the past, Trump has been an outspoken global warming denier. In 2012 he tweeted that "the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." In 2014 he tweeted that "this very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice." And in 2015 he openly said, "I believe in clean air. Immaculate air... But I don't believe in climate change."
This 2015 comment from Trump perhaps best sums up his view: "[Climate change] is a hoax. I mean, it's a money-making industry, OK? It's a hoax, a lot of it."
Ironically, although Trump has claimed that his environmental policy came about due to concern over coal miners losing their jobs, he insulted coal miners in a 1990 Playboy interview, as a way of illustrating his own talent for deal-making.
"I like the challenge and tell the story of the coal miner’s son," Trump said. "The coal miner gets black-lung disease, his son gets it, then his son . If I had been the son of a coal miner, I would have left the damn mines. But most people don’t have the imagination – or whatever – to leave their mine. They don’t have 'it.'"