Donald Trump clashed with Democratic officials in California over West Coast wildfires as he flatly told them he believes scientists have not yet proven there is a climate crisis.
The president made his latest, and one of his clearest, proclamations about whether the Earth is warming during a briefing in California about forest fires raging up and down America’s West Coast after several Democratic officials pressed their case that warming is occurring.
“We want to work with you to really recognise the changing climate,” California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot told Mr Trump.
“It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch,” the president shot back with a grin.
In a rare public rebuke of a sitting president, Mr Crowfoot replied: “I wish science agreed with you.”
His grin now a smirk, Mr Trump said: “Well, I don’t think science knows actually.”
That came after Mr Trump heard a climate change warning from California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom. He asked the president to “please respect” many Californians’ and Democrats’ views that there is a climate crisis.
“We come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science is in and observed evidence is self-evident,” he said, “that climate change is real.”
Mr Trump did not engage Mr Newsom on the point or disagree with him. Apparently, however, he decided two lectures in one briefing were too many.
A majority of Americans believe the globe is warming, and polls typically show around 65 per cent of those surveyed want the government to do more to combat what they see as a climate crisis.
But Mr Trump is always most focused on his conservative base. When it comes to believing there is a crisis and whether the government is doing too little about it, Republicans are much less likely to agree with either.
Younger Americans, notably, rank the climate crisis as one of the top issues for the 2020 election.