Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough defended President-elect Donald Trump after it was announced he will select climate change denier and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), insisting, “I just know” that Trump “has to believe” in climate science.
Pruitt fought against EPA carbon emissions regulations alongside the fossil fuel industry leaders who donated millions to the Republican Attorneys General Association.* Earlier this year in National Review, Pruitt peddled the falsehood that “scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to mankind.”
Scarborough sprang to defend Trump against criticism of his appointment of Pruitt, claiming that, while Trump’s choice to appoint a climate change denier to head the EPA was “disappointing,” Trump “has to believe” that “there is a such thing as climate change and that humans have” played a role. Scarborough claimed that Trump “doesn't have a reason, an ideological reason, to not believe that.” Scarborough and his Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, who reportedly speak personally to Trump regularly, have carried water for Trump for months. From the December 8 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): [Donald Trump] really does, Mika, need to make another sort of statement like he made to The New York Times, being open to what the reality is -- that there is such a thing as climate change and that humans have --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I think he will.
SCARBOROUGH: -- and he believes it.
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, I don’t know that from -- I don't know that from talking to Donald Trump, but I just know the guy has to believe it. He's not sticking his head in the sand, and he doesn't have a reason, an ideological reason, to not believe that. That's what's disappointing here, and we'll see what happens when he selects him.
STEVEN RATTNER: Well, I think you’re right. I think he probably does believe it, but then he’s going to have a heck of a time with Mr. [Scott] Pruitt.
*CORRECTION: This post originally indicated that fossil fuel interests donated millions to Pruitt's campaign for Oklahoma attorney general. In fact, they donated millions to the Republican Attorneys General Association, and hundreds of thousands more directly to Pruitt's various campaigns.