Chief of Staff Confirms Trump's 'Default Position' on Climate Change is Climate Change Denial

While Trump said he'd have "an open mind," his Chief of Staff says Trump's "default position" on climate change is that "most of it is a bunch of bunk."

Donald Trump 60 Minutes

Image via CBS/The CW

Donald Trump 60 Minutes

Donald Trump's election victory has people worried about climate change. Just last week, Trump's administration announced plans to abandon NASA's research into climate change, which it considers "politicized science." As climate change becomes more and more problematic, many were relieved last week when Trump told the New York Times he has "a totally open mind" regarding climate change (in that same interview, Trump argued that he's "actually an environmentalist" because he owns golf courses).

Now, however, Trump's Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has eliminated any hope of Trump's "open mind." Priebus says Trump's "default position" on climate change is that "most of it is a bunch of bunk."

Granted, we've long known that Trump isn't the most informed about climate change. In 2012, for example, he said in a tweet that climate change is a hoax made up by the Chinese:

Nonetheless, Priebus clarified that Trump does indeed still deny the near-universal scientific consensus on climate change. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Priebus about how certain recent comments from Trump "open the door to major flips on policy," including climate change.

"As far as this issue on climate change," Priebus said, "the only thing he was saying after being asked a few questions about it is, look, he'll have an open mind about it but he has his default position, which most of it is a bunch of bunk, but he'll have an open mind and listen to people. I think that’s what he’s saying."

Of course, if Trump really had such "an open mind," he probably would've learned by now that the overwhelming majority (97 percent) of climate scientists accept the science that human-caused climate change is happening (as John Oliver has long (and hilariously) pointed out). Trump has previously said "there are few things where there’s more division than climate change," which definitely is not true of the scientific community. In fact, as ThinkProgress has noted, "scientists are as confident humans are the primary cause of climate change as they are that smoking is unhealthy."

So it looks like Trump isn't so open-minded on climate change, after all. Either way though, we're going to need a lot more than an open mind to deal with climate change, as the earth is the hottest it's been in more than 115,000 years.

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