In a recent speech to members of the military, President Joe Biden said he was once told by his joint chiefs of staff that climate change is the biggest threat to America’s national security. But not everyone agrees.
According to The Hill, Donald Trump made clear Thursday that he doesn’t agree with the joint chiefs’ alleged risk assessment. What’s more, the former president called on Biden to fire whoever presented such an idea to him.
“Sinking below the sea”
Trump’s comments came in response to a speech by Biden on Wednesday to American troops stationed in the United Kingdom.
“When I went over in the Tank in the Pentagon, when I first was elected vice president, with President [Barack] Obama, the military sat us down to let us know what the greatest threats facing America were,” Biden recalled, according to The Hill.
“And this is not a joke: You know what the Joint Chiefs told us the greatest threat facing America was? Global warming,” the now-president added. “Because there’ll be significant population movements, fights over land, millions of people leaving places because they’re literally sinking below the sea in Indonesia, because of the fights over what is arable land anymore.”
Trump fires back
The president’s remarks resulted in a sharply worded statement from Trump the following day. In it, Trump denied that climate change is America’s “greatest threat” and called for the removal of any officials who believe it is.
“Biden just said that he was told by the Joint Chiefs of Staff that Climate Change is our greatest threat,” Trump wrote, according to The Hill. “If that is the case, and they actually said this, he ought to immediately fire the Joint Chiefs of Staff for being incompetent!”
The Hill noted that Biden seemed to be referring to comments made by military leaders over a decade ago, when he was vice president, rather than those currently serving in Biden’s administration.
Still, the outlet acknowledged that the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, testified before Congress last week that climate change remains a “threat.”
“Climate change is a threat,” the four-star Army general said, according to The Hill. “Climate change has [a] significant impact on military operations, and we have to take it into consideration.”
Graham speaks out
Trump, for his part, isn’t alone in suggesting that the military is putting too high of a priority on climate change under the Biden administration. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) expressed a similar sentiment Thursday to Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade.
“Well, if they said that, they should be fired… All of them,” Graham said. “So, climate change is a problem, let’s fix it. But the biggest threat to world order today is the Iranians,” the senator added, also referring to threats from China before calling Biden “delusional.”