Short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Sunday defended President Donald Trump’s tweet last week on climate change, saying that his actual opinion on the subject might surprise people.
“I love the President’s sense of humor, but I also think he’s saying something else,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “I think you guys should ask him directly if he’s a climate change denier. I think you’ll find you’ll be surprised by that answer.”
Scaramucci was referencing Trump’s tweet on Thursday suggesting that climate change could be a good thing given that East Coast cities have been gripped by freezing temperatures.
“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Bundle up!”
Trump’s tweet, if taken as a policy pronouncement, would place the President’s climate policy further out of step with the vast majority of scientists, who believe global warming is damaging for the United States and the world.
In his tweet, Trump was referencing news that the Eastern United States and Midwest are being clobbered with a brutal cold front that will make New Year’s Eve a frigid affair in many cities.
In Trump’s hometown of New York City, celebrants will gather in Times Square with the temperature around 12 degrees Fahrenheit — but it will feel colder because of the wind chill. Temperatures will likely dip lower on New Year’s Day.
Scaramucci said he believed the tweet came from Trump himself, rather than his social media director, Dan Scavino.
“First off, you can tell that that was the President tweeting himself,” Scaramucci said. “I am going to give a shout-out to my friend Dan Scavino. I know the difference when Dan is tweeting and when President Trump is tweeting. That was clearly the President.”
He also defended Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement earlier this year.
“I think what he’s really saying in that tweet is that deal, the Paris Accord, there was something really wrong with that deal as it related to the United States,” Scaramucci said. “So he really didn’t want to sign it and go along with the crowd. He’s an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have the tendency to diverge from crowd thinking.”
The Government Accountability Office released a report in October that said the US government has spent more than $350 billion over the past decade in response to extreme weather and wildfires and estimated that the US would incur far higher costs as the years progress if global emission rates don’t go down.
The report called on Trump to use the information GAO compiled to help identify risks posed by climate change and “craft appropriate federal responses.”
Additionally, the Climate Science Special Report released by the federal government in November found “no convincing alternative explanation” for the changing climate other than “human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases.”
White House staffing changes
In his interview Sunday, Scaramucci defended Trump’s chaotic White House, saying he admires the fact that Trump is continually shifting his team around.
“My point on this, and I’ve said this repeatedly, is that I admire that aspect of the President,” he said. “Even though I was a victim of that — I didn’t resign, I was, frankly, fired — at the end of the day I respect the business like decisions that are being made by the White House, and it’s very different from the government.”
Scaramucci also defended comments he made at a Hanukkah party, where he reportedly described the “kill or be killed” atmosphere in the White House.
“I have a tendency to talk with colorful language,” he said. “I said those things, the point being it’s not just about the Trump White House, it’s about Washington in general. I think we have to be very careful that people get intoxicated by power.”
He continued: “I thought I had very strong alliances with people that I in fact did not have. … (W)hen they were in power, they were building borders to secure and protect their power. I think that is very, very dangerous.”