Yesterday, Donald Trump outright said that he “didn’t believe” his own administration’s report on the impending horrific effects of climate change, and today, well.
During an interview with The Washington Post, Trump went on a wild tangent about bad air and water in China that pinballed into the observation that the “oceans are very small,” (no) and that the planet is actually going to freeze to death from global freezing (no, unless the sun goes out which might happen 7 billion years from now).
Anyway, I don’t even know, man.
Per the Washington Post, emphasis mine to highlight the strangest parts:
TRUMP: One of the problems that a lot of people like myself — we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers. You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and when you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including – just many other places — the air is incredibly dirty. And when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with.
Number two, if you go back and if you look at articles, they talked about global freezing, they talked about at some point the planets could have freeze to death, then it’s going to die of heat exhaustion. There is movement in the atmosphere. There’s no question. As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it — not nearly like it is. Do we want clean water? Absolutely. Do we want clean air to breathe? Absolutely. The fire in California, where I was, if you looked at the floor, the floor of the fire they have trees that were fallen, they did no forest management, no forest maintenance, and you can light — you can take a match like this and light a tree trunk when that thing is laying there for more than 14 or 15 months. And it’s a massive problem in California.
DAWSEY: So you’re saying you don’t see the —
TRUMP: Josh, you go to other places where they have denser trees — it’s more dense, where the trees are more flammable — they don’t have forest fires like this, because they maintain. And it was very interesting, I was watching the firemen and they’re raking brush — you know the tumbleweed and brush and all this stuff that’s growing underneath. It’s on fire and they’re raking it working so hard, and they’re raking all this stuff. If that was raked in the beginning, there’d be nothing to catch on fire. It’s very interesting to see. A lot of the trees, they took tremendous burn at the bottom, but they didn’t catch on fire. The bottom is all burned but they didn’t catch on fire because they sucked the water, they’re wet. You need forest management, and they don’t have it.
The Washington Post helpfully annotated this interview with context and “fact checks” of some of this information but like, really did not engage with this bullshit well enough in my opinion. Here’s their “context,” which seems to be like, “haha, look what he said,” when it should be like “this is totally fucking wrong btw here’s why.”
After the “very high levels of intelligence” bit (fact check: no!):
Few Trump quotes have epitomized him like this one. He has been skeptical of U.S. intelligence, the judiciary, the legal system, climate change, and many other institutions and other sources of expertise.
After the global freezing part:
This claim has been put forward by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. It got four Pinocchios from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker.
Maybe elaborate on those “four Pinocchios” a little????
After the tree raking bit:
Trump previously lodged an odd theory, citing Finland, about how raking brush in forests could prevent forest fires. Finland dismissed the idea, but here Trump expands upon his odd ideas about how such things could be avoided.
There’s absolutely no context here as to the fact that the Camp Fire had nothing to fucking do with forest management and burned through areas that were already heavily logged.
Did The Washington Post’s Phil Rucker or Josh Dawsey push back on this at all? Nope! They segued right away from that shit.
RUCKER: Mr. President, there’s a lot of economic news, too.
TRUMP: Yes, we’ve got a lot of news there.
Great job all round everyone.