"This is what happens when you try to run the country without a science adviser."
So wrote meteorologist Eric Holthaus after President Donald Trump, citing the bitter cold currently gripping the eastern US, suggested in a Thursday night tweet, "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."
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. Bundle up!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017
In addition to demonstrating that he is unaware of the distinction between weather and climate, Trump also appeared to be referencing his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord—a move environmentalists slammed as "stupid and reckless."
Such recklessness has characterized much of Trump's approach to the environment -- both globally and in the US -- throughout his first year in office.
As the ranks of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to be filled with climate deniers and Big Oil favorites, the agency's chief, Scott Pruitt, is moving at breakneck speed to dismantle even the most basic protections against environmental degradation -- opening the door to both short-term and long-term catastrophes in a bid to reward the fossil fuel industry.
Furthermore, the GOP's $1.5 trillion tax bill Trump signed into law last Friday opens Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, a decision characterized by Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune as "a gift to corporate polluters and a means to pay off these tax cuts for the rich."
Trump's tweet Thursday night sparked a flurry of reaction from climate experts and analysts, but it wasn't the first time Trump has used cold weather to suggest that the citizens of the world should welcome the climate crisis.
It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2015
Holthaus concluded that "as twisted and wrong" as these tweets are, they are "exactly what resonates with his base. Poking fun at existential global problems in the sickest, most selfish way possible."
Others echoed Holthaus on Thursday, calling Trump's scientific ignorance a serious danger to future generations.
Please let someone preserve this tweet forever so that future generations at least know why the American government didn’t take action to deal with the climate change crisis that now afflicts them https://t.co/FyV2dlbNzE— David Sirota (@davidsirota) December 29, 2017
This is what we’re up against. He is dismantling our most critical environmental and public health protections, while also spreading misinformation.— NRDC ? (@NRDC) December 29, 2017
Help us fight this madness. https://t.co/A9H8Xy8dxL https://t.co/3h6gvambd5
The ignorance is astounding. https://t.co/V5yo7N4TQX— Atom Araullo (@atomaraullo) December 29, 2017
In 2017, there were about three record high temperatures in the US for every record low temperature. Weather is not the same as climate. The president should be able to understand that. It isn't hard. https://t.co/piwHcvZWbH https://t.co/7EFkR5SmUN— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) December 29, 2017