President Donald Trump believes the climate is changing, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in two separate pre-taped interviews for Sunday talk shows. Considering the way several White House officials have refused to answer whether the commander in chief believes climate change is real, or a hoax created by China as he’s tweeted before, it seems the White House has a new talking point. Haley used the exact same words in both CBS’ Face the Nation and CNN’s State of the Union. Trump “believes the climate is changing and he believes pollutants are part of the equation,” Haley said during the two interviews that are scheduled to air Sunday.
It’s clear that was a talking point because when CBS’ John Dickerson called on Haley to expand on that point and explain whether human activity causes those pollutants that lead to climate change, her answer suddenly got a bit more evasive. “I mean, John, I just gave you the answer,” Haley said. “I mean, that’s what he believes. And so that’s as clear as I know to give it. You know, we can all weigh this out. But at the end of the day, watch what the president does. What he is doing is making sure that we have jobs for American citizens but also making sure that we have a clean environment.”
At the same time, Haley may have put in evidence that she’s not quite familiar with the Paris climate agreement, considering she called it a “club” in the CNN interview. “Just because the US got out of a club doesn’t mean we aren’t going to care about the environment,” she said. Despite Trump’s decision to turn the United States into one of only three countries in the world not to sign onto the agreement, the president is “absolutely intent on making sure that we have clean air, clean water, that he makes sure that we’re doing everything we can to keep America’s moral compass in the world when it comes to the environment.”
Haley’s comments come as reporters have been trying to get administration officials to answer a seemingly simple question: does Trump believe in man-made climate change? All evidence seems to point to the commander in chief being, at the very least, skeptical. Dylan Mathews over at Vox counted 115 times in which Trump tweeted some sort of skeptical claim about climate change from 2011 until October 2015. Trump’s most infamous climate-change-denial tweet came in November 2012, when he wrote that the “concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
When the New York Times asked him about the issue in November Trump acknowledged “some connectivity” between human activity and climate change but didn’t really specify what that meant. “There is some, something. It depends on how much,” Trump said. “It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now.”