But the man who claimed numerous times that climate change is “an expensive hoax,” “a concept...created by and for the Chinese” and “bullshit” still believes it is “a bunch of bunk,” according to his incoming chief of staff, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.
“As far as this issue on climate change, the only thing he was saying after being asked a few questions about it was, look, he’ll have an open mind about it. But he has his default position which, most of it is a bunch of bunk,” Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“But he’ll have an open mind and listen to people,” he added.
The full transcript of his remarks to the Times reveals that Trump appeared to have little knowledge of the issue and continued to express skepticism at the near-universal scientific consensus on climate change.
“You know the hottest day ever was in 1890-something, 98. You know, you can make lots of cases for different views. I have a totally open mind,” he said, later adding that “it’s a very complex subject. I’m not sure anybody is ever going to really know.”
Environmentalists warn that Trump’s presidency will be disastrous for global efforts to combat climate change. Trump has vowed to undo President Barack Obama’s signature policy achievements on the issue, including mandating lower carbon emissions from power plants, preserving more public land and negotiating the landmark United Nations Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Trump’s personnel picks confirm these fears, as he has named climate change denier Myron Ebell to oversee the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump has also suggested gutting the agency altogether.
To head the Department of the Interior, which oversees the national parks system and the preservation of endangered species, leading candidates include Sarah “Drill Baby Drill” Palin and oil executive Harold Hamm. And Trump’s adviser on space policy wants to end NASA’s climate change research programs.
Like he has on the campaign trail, Trump told the Times last week that combating climate change would “cost our companies.”
“We’re not a competitive nation with other nations anymore. We have to make ourselves competitive,” he said. “We’re not competitive for a lot of reasons.”
And to demonstrate his “open mind” on the climate change issue, he touted his “great, great, very successful golf courses.”