That’s a fresh story ― and a fresh lie. During the presidential debate Monday night, Trump himself lied by denying that he had previously called global warming a man-made hoax.
The political incentives for this are clear: Younger voters overwhelmingly bow to the scientific evidence and perceive global warming as a major threat. But even an experienced faker like Trump will have a hard time suddenly portraying himself as a champion on this issue. He has publicly blamed China for inventing the concept of global warming and called it “very expensive ... bullshit” multiple times, a reasoned conclusion he apparently reached because he feels cold sometimes. Find more of his comments and tweets on the subject here.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, said it’s not fair to consider his tweets as his position. It’s unfair to even reference the Republican nominee’s past statements, like his comment of support for the Iraq War on “The Howard Stern Show” in 2002, Conway added ― leaving open the question of which Trump statements really do reflect his views.
The Republican operative tried to present Trump as simply a run-of-the-mill global warming denier like others in the GOP, rather than a peddler of conspiracy theories on this issue the way he has been on others.
“He believes that climate change is occurring naturally,” Conway said. This view is less patently inaccurate than Trump’s other pronouncements on the issue. But it’s wrong too, according to the vast majority of scientists.
The Trump operative rounded out her short segment with a different falsehood: that Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, has never been pressed on global warming or been clear about her views on it. She has been clear about her faith in the scientific consensus, and she has nearly 100 advisers already working on strategies to tackle the issue.
Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, tossed one more story into the mix in his own CNN appearance a little over an hour later. Trump does believe human activities “have some impact on the environment,” Pence said.
Apparently, Trump simply wants to deal with it differently than Clinton. “What Donald Trump said was a hoax is that bureaucrats in D.C. can control [this],” Pence said.
Asked specifically about Trump’s past tweets calling global warming itself a hoax, Pence echoed Conway, saying that was simply “a humorous tweet he put out a few years ago.”
“It’s a lot of tweets, governor,” CNN’s Chris Cuomo responded.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.