In a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post, President Donald Trump attempted to explain why he’s voiced skepticism on a damning climate change report released by his administration on Black Friday, telling the newspaper that his “very high levels of intelligence” prevents him from believing the findings presented by scientists from 13 federal agencies and 300 leading scientists.
The report concluded that climate change will interrupt the way people live day-to-day and result in “hundreds of billions of dollars” in annual losses to some economic sectors without radical actions taken to immediately curb global emissions.
“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,” Trump told the Post on Tuesday. “You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.”
Here’s a transcript of Trump’s rambling answer on climate change to the Post:
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 Post noted that Trump’s “global freezing” claim has been previously rated “four Pinocchios” by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker team when it was first made by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
And to his bizarre forest raking theory, the Post writes:
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.