White House officials won’t say if Trump believes in climate change

The White House will not say whether or not President Donald Trump believes the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity contributes to climate change.

Senior administration officials would not say Thursday if Trump accepts scientific data that links human-driven carbon dioxide emissions to rising global temperatures, after he announced he is withdrawing the US from the Paris accord, a global agreement to fight climate change.

“The fact that the president in his speech today said that he wants to come back and renegotiate a better deal for the United States and for the world, I think, pretty much speaks for itself,” the official said in a briefing with reporters after Trump’s Rose Garden speech.

The official repeated, “I think that speaks for itself,” after reporters asked again.

“I have not talked to the president about his personal views,” the official added.

Trump has in the past referred to climate change as a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese. In his speech announcing the Paris withdrawal, he repeatedly framed the 2015 agreement as a global effort to harm the U.S. economy.

“The Paris agreement handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense,” Trump said. “You see what’s happening. It’s pretty obvious to those that want to keep an open mind. At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? … We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be. They won’t be.”

Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked at the White House briefing Tuesday if Trump believed human activity contributed to climate change.

“Honestly, I haven’t asked him,” Spicer said. “I can get back to you. … I don’t know. I honestly haven’t asked him that specific question.”

Spicer did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment Thursday.

Trump has in the past referred to climate change as “bullshit.”

In one 2014 tweet, he declared: “This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice.”

In another tweet the same year, he wrote: “Massive record setting snowstorm and freezing temperatures in U.S. Smart that GLOBAL WARMING hoaxsters changed name to CLIMATE CHANGE! $$$$”

Many Republicans applauded his decision to withdrawal from the agreement, and a number of prominent Republicans have over the years argued, despite scientific evidence to the contrary, that climate change is a hoax.

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