EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says he and Trump have never discussed if climate change is real

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says he and Trump have never discussed if climate change is real
President Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
Source: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
President Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
Source: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Scott Pruitt and President Donald Trump have never discussed if climate change is real, the EPA administrator said on Morning Joe Tuesday.

MSNBC's Willie Geist asked Pruitt, who had said Trump had not discussed his climate change views with him before pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, if he has "since had a chance to ask him about that."

"No," Pruitt said. "What I've talked about is our focus the last several weeks has been on the merits and demerits of the Paris deal."

"So in your conversations, you've never talked to him about whether or not climate change is real and if it's impacted by humans?" Geist asked.

"The focus of our discussions was and has been on the merits and demerits of the Paris decision," Pruitt repeated.

Host Joe Scarborough pressed Pruitt for clarity — but still didn't get any answers.

"Mr. Pruitt, it's a simple question," Scarborough said. "Have you ever talked to the president about whether he believes climate change is real? Does he still believe it was a hoax launched in China? Wouldn't you like to know?"

"I think what's important, Joe, is that the president has said that when you make environmental decisions internationally, that we put America's interests first," Pruitt replied.

Trump announced last Thursday that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accord — the historic agreement former President Barack Obama helped strike in 2015.

After the announcement, Pruitt — a climate change doubter — would not say if Trump believed in climate change. White House press secretary Sean Spicer also declined to say if Trump believed in climate change, telling reporters that he has "not had an opportunity to have that discussion." White House aide Kellyanne Conway on Friday skirted questions about the president's views on the climate, telling George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America that "you should ask him that."

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, gave the most definitive answer of any in the administration on Saturday when she told CNN's Jake Tapper that Trump believes "the climate is changing."

Still, as Politifact notes, Trump has a long history of dismissing climate change. He has called it a Chinese hoax, said "nobody really knows" if it is real and repeatedly tweeted that it's fake because it is sometimes cold outside.

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Eric Lutz

Eric Lutz is a staff writer at Mic. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at ericlutz@mic.com.

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