Donald Trump revels in making offensive comments. “I don’t have time to be politically correct,” is practically his slogan. Accused at the debate of insulting a Miss Universe winner for gaining weight, afterwards he made no apologies: “She was the worst we ever had … she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.”
But there was one thing he previously said that he ran as far away from as possible during the debate: global warming is a hoax.
When Hillary Clinton said, “Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real,” Trump immediately interjected, “I did not. I did not. I do not say that.”
Of course, he has called global warming a “hoax” on multiple occasions. He tweeted in 2012, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” And while in January of this year he tried to pass the China charge as a joke, he didn’t sound like he was joking, “I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China because China does not do anything to help climate change.”
But even Trump knows that admitting you think global warming is a hoax, in front of 80 million people, is political suicide.
This doesn’t mean Trump has gotten religion about the science, or a grasp of the facts. He proceeded to knock the Obama administration’s record on renewable energy: “She talks about solar panels. We invested in a solar company, our country. That was a disaster. They lost plenty of money on that one. Now, look, I’m a great believer in all forms of energy, but we’re putting a lot of people out of work.” In fact, investments and new regulations by the Obama administration have helped double wind, solar and geothermal energy production.
But we have reached the point where it is politically toxic to reject climate science. We’re getting somewhere.