Trump Spars With AP Reporters On Global Warming

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor
  • Trump pushed back on reporters’ questions on global warming.
  • “I have a natural instinct for science,” Trump said.
  • Trump also took a shot at the Paris climate accord, which he pledged to leave.

President Donald Trump again found himself sparring with journalists over global warming, pushing back against Associated Press reporters’ questions in a wide-ranging interview.

“My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years. Dr. John Trump,” Trump said in the interview published Wednesday. “And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.”

Trump was responding to assertions from AP reporters that scientists say global warming “can’t be reversed.” AP White House reporters Catherine Lucey, Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire interviewed the president.

“No, no. Some say that and some say differently. I mean, you have scientists on both sides of it,” Trump said.

Trump also reiterated what he told ’60 Minutes’ host Lesley Stahl when she questioned him on the matter in an interview that aired Sunday. Stahl suggested that Trump change his mind in light of recent hurricanes hitting the U.S. east coast.

“I said the worst hurricane was 50 years ago, far worse than what this one was,” Trump told the AP reporters. “Then, in 1890, they had one that was even worse. This was No. 3 or 4 or 5. We had worse hurricanes in 1890, we had worse, a worse hurricane 50 years ago. We’ve gone through a period, actually, fairly recently, where we have very few.”

U.S. President Trump is greeted as he arrives for tour of Hurricane Michael storm damage at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida

U.S. President Donald Trump stands with FEMA Administrator Brock Long (L) and U.S. GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis of Florida as he talks to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, after the president arrived to tour storm damage from Hurricane Michael at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, U.S., Oct. 15, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

Trump also said that while he agrees that “climate changes,” he’s not willing to sacrifice economic growth for a problem that “nobody really knows.” (RELATED: The End Of Maple Syrup, Coffee And Beer? Scientists Are Using Our Favorite Luxuries To Hype Global Warming)

“I want absolutely crystal clear water and I want the cleanest air on the planet and our air now is cleaner than it’s ever been,” Trump said. “Very important to me. But what I’m not willing to do is sacrifice the economic well-being of our country for something that nobody really knows.”

“And I agree the climate changes, but it goes back and forth, back and forth. So we’ll see,” Trump said.

The president also took a shot at the Paris climate accord, which former President Barack Obama joined in 2016. Trump pledged to exit the agreement as soon as 2020, and has taken steps to unravel Obama-era energy regulations meant to comply with the Paris accord.

“Clean is very important — water, air. But I also want jobs for our country. And if we would have, as an example, entered certain agreements with other countries, I actually think that we’re doing it so they could have an economic advantage,” Trump said.

“Because we would have had a tremendous— we would have been at a tremendous economic disadvantage if we entered into certain agreements,” he added.

Here’s the AP’s transcript of that portion of the interview:

AP: In your interview with ’60 Minutes’ over the weekend, you were asked about climate change, and you said you believe it, but that also, it could go back. And one of the things …

Trump: I said the worst hurricane was 50 years ago, far worse than what this one was. Then, in 1890, they had one that was even worse. This was No. 3 or 4 or 5. We had worse hurricanes in 1890, we had worse, a worse hurricane 50 years ago. We’ve gone through a period, actually, fairly recently, where we have very few. I live in Florida to a large extent and spend a lot of time in Florida, and we had a period of time where we went years without having any major problem. And then you have a problem and it goes in cycles, and I want absolutely crystal clear water and I want the cleanest air on the planet and our air now is cleaner than it’s ever been. Very important to me. But what I’m not willing to do is sacrifice the economic well-being of our country for something that nobody really knows. And you have scientists on both sides of the issue. And I agree the climate changes, but it goes back and forth, back and forth. So we’ll see.

I mean, you know, I am a person that believes very, very strongly in the environment. I am truly an environmentalist. I know some people might not think of me as that, but I’m an environmentalist. Everything I want and everything I have is clean. Clean is very important — water, air. But I also want jobs for our country. And if we would have, as an example, entered certain agreements with other countries, I actually think that we’re doing it so they could have an economic advantage. Because we would have had a tremendous— we would have been at a tremendous economic disadvantage if we entered into certain agreements.

AP: But scientists say this is nearing a point where this can’t be reversed.

Trump: No, no. Some say that and some say differently. I mean, you have scientists on both sides of it. My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years. Dr. John Trump. And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.

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