President Donald Trump offered another glimpse into his thinking on climate change during a recent interview with The Washington Post, saying that "people like myself — we have very high levels of intelligence, but we're not necessarily such believers," while offering no justification for his administration's policies.
Trump is an unusual figure in many ways, and certainly deviates from standard GOP procedure on a range of topics.
Yet embarrassingly for Republicans, one topic on which this is not true is climate change where his views, though patently ridiculous, are uniformly embraced by his party. Here he explains why he disagrees with government scientists about the issue:
One of the problems that a lot of people like myself — we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers. You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and when you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including – just many other places — the air is incredibly dirty. And when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with.
Vox gives Trump a somewhat charitable read, acknowledging that the president is in some ways correct: “Air pollution is a global problem, and while the US is a major contributor to climate pollution, we are not the only culprit or necessarily even the biggest culprit.”
But Vox also notes that Trump in no way explained his efforts to sabotage America’s work toward combating climate change.
Perhaps more troubling is Trump’s apparent lack of the necessary intellectual capacity to engage the issue in the first place.
The president moved on in the interview to repeat dubious claims that raking the forests would keep California from burning.
Rather than even attempt to justify his approach, Trump simply counterpunches to offer the theory that wildfires are caused not by hot dry weather but by a paucity of rakes:
Josh, you go to other places where they have denser trees — it’s more dense, where the trees are more flammable — they don’t have forest fires like this, because they maintain. And it was very interesting, I was watching the firemen and they’re raking brush — you know the tumbleweed and brush and all this stuff that’s growing underneath. It’s on fire and they’re raking it working so hard, and they’re raking all this stuff. If that was raked in the beginning, there’d be nothing to catch on fire. It’s very interesting to see. A lot of the trees, they took tremendous burn at the bottom, but they didn’t catch on fire. The bottom is all burned but they didn’t catch on fire because they sucked the water, they’re wet. You need forest management, and they don’t have it.