Last Friday, the Trump administration — 13 federal agencies working in coordination — released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a detailed document featuring the conclusions of more than 300 scientists that the planet is getting warmer, human activity is contributing to that warming and we are approaching a point of no return in terms of the damage to the climate.
It’s a stunning document. It’s also one that President Donald Trump and his administration don’t, uh, believe.
“I don’t believe it,” Trump told reporters Monday of the report, acknowledging that he had only read “some” of the study.
Then, on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders took the whole thing a step further. “We think that this is the most extreme version and it’s not based on facts,” Sanders said. “It’s based on — it’s not data-driven. We’d like to see something that is more data-driven.”
Let’s be very clear about what is going on here: The President and his official spokesperson are rejecting the conclusions of a detailed study conducted by the Trump administration because the findings of that study don’t comport with the President’s long-held beliefs that climate change just isn’t a real thing.
And this is far from the first time this has happened. Back in 2017, the US intelligence community unanimously concluded that Russia had sought to interfere in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Trump has continued to raise questions about whether Russia actually did it. Earlier this month, the CIA determined that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had personally ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump, in an official White House statement, said “our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
The Point: Facts are not the sort of thing you get to decide whether you believe or not. Especially when your own administration is the one providing the facts!