Donald Trump has long expressed skepticism over the idea of global warming. But when asked on Thursday about the issue, the president appeared to change course.
“Nothing’s a hoax about that. It’s a very serious subject,” Trump said of climate change and protecting the environment, according to The Hill. “I want clean air; I want clean water. I want the cleanest air with the cleanest water. The environment’s very important to me.”
“I’m a big believer”
Trump’s apparent reversal on the topic came during a press conference Thursday, where the president announced significant changes set to be made to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The changes are aimed at streamlining the bureaucratic process involved in infrastructure projects like highways and pipelines, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“The changes would relieve [federal] agencies from considering climate change as they weigh environmental impacts” of these projects, The Hill reported.
But that doesn’t mean Trump isn’t concerned about the issue. Taking questions in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Thursday, Trump was asked for his position on climate change.
“Since the environment is something that is on the table here today, what is your position on global warming? Do you think it’s a hoax? Do you think that something needs to be done?” a reporter asked the president, according to a transcript provided by the White House.
Trump responded that it is “not at all” a hoax.
“I’m a big believer in that word: the environment. I’m a big believer,” he said. “But I want clean air. I want clean water.”
The real climate “hoax”
Trump was quick to qualify his comments, however, suggesting that the recent deregulation will allow for job growth.
“I also want jobs, though,” Trump said. “I don’t want to close up our industry because somebody said, you know, ‘You have to go with wind,’ or ‘You have to go with something else’ that’s not going to be able to have the capacity to do what we have to do.”
As The Hill noted, Trump has expressed skepticism about man-made climate change in the past, but his recent remarks make it seem that “hoax” doesn’t have to do with the environment at all — rather, it’s the “climate-saving” solutions being proposed largely by Democrats that could kill jobs, stifle innovation, and strangle the economy.
Indeed, Trump loves the environment and wants Americans to enjoy clean air and water. But he also doesn’t want to stop the American economy from booming to the best it’s ever been — and this latest move is a huge step in the right direction.
“We have the best employment numbers we’ve ever had,” Trump said at his Thursday presser. “We have the best unemployment numbers we’ve ever had. So that’s very important.”