White House counselor Kellyanne Conway Friday refused to directly answer several questions about whether President Donald Trump still believes global warming to be a hoax, a day after he pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord.
"He believes in clean water, clean air and made clear what he doesn't believe, which is that the U.S. government should stay in an agreement that gives us too much of the financial burden, too much risk to these industries where the coal miners, people who work in cement and paper, people who looked in the eye in place after place and city after city while he was running," Conway told ABC "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos.
"Does he believe global warming is a hoax?" Stephanopoulos repeated.
"He believes in clean air, clean water, a clean environment and believes we have to negotiate better deals for this country and that there is a balance between environmental protection and economic…" Conway started.
"I'll ask one more time," Stephanopoulos said. "Does he believe it is a hoax?"
"You should ask him that, and I hope you have a chance," Conway concluded.
In the past, Trump has referred to climate change as a "hoax" perpetrated by the Chinese, and has tweeted his skepticism on the topic more than 100 times, according to a Vox compilation of his tweets
Conway's comments appear to echo the stance being made by the White House that Trump's decision was made for economic reasons, not because of his past statements on climate change.
On Thursday, after Trump's announcement about the climate accord, senior administration officials refused to comment about whether Trump accepts data linking carbon dioxide emissions to global warming, reports Politico.
"The fact that the president in his speech today said that he wants to come back and renegotiate a better deal for the United States and for the world, I think, pretty much speaks for itself," one official said during a briefing with reporters. "I have not talked to the president about his personal views."
On Fox News' "Fox & Friends," Conway said Trump "weighed the consequences and made his choice, as he always does."
"He was elected to this job in large part because he promised to protect American jobs, American interests, American workers and frankly America," said Conway. "You know, in four and a half short months, he has already done so much to unleash energy investment and to really roll back draconian and burdensome environmental regulations that President [Barack] Obama sneaked in there. This was a very poorly negotiated bad deal accord from the beginning."
Conway went on to say "environmentalists went crazy" when the Paris accord was first negotiated, as it would have an insignificant impact and it "let China and India off without having to compel their behavior in a dramatic way."
Trump had opposition from those close to him about staying in the accord, that included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and from his daughter Ivanka, who reportedly called CEOs and asked them to convince her father to stay in the agreement, pointed show co-host Brian Kilmeade. Further, Ivanka's husband, Jared Kushner, was not at Trump's press conference.
"Yesterday was a Jewish holiday, as I understand in the Catholic world," Conway replied. "I don't want to read into how anybody is spending their time or are not. However, that's the point. This is a president unafraid to listen to many different ideas across the spectrum. And this is a great example of that."
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