President Donald Trump not only believes in climate change, but he also thinks humans have a role in it, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley admits in two different network news interviews set to air Sunday.
"President Trump believes the climate is changing and he believes pollutants are part of the equation," Haley told CNN's Jake Tapper in a preview of a "State of the Union" interview Saturday. "[He] knows that it's changing and that the United States has to be responsible for it and that's what we're going to do."
Haley echoed the comments to CBS' "Face the Nation," telling anchor John Dickerson in an interview to air on Sunday that Trump "believes the climate is changing and he believes pollutants are part of that equation."
When announcing his decision to pull out of the Paris agreement, Trump said his decision was made because of the "draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country."
However, CNN pointed out, Trump did not use the words "climate change" in his speech.
The agreement was reached in 2015 between the United States and 194 other nations. With Trump's decision, the United States is one of just three countries around the world that do not participate in the Paris accord; the other two are Syria and Nicaragua.
Haley told CBS that Trump is "absolutely intent on making sure that we have clean air, clean water, that he makes sure that we're doing everything we can to keep America's moral compass in the world when it comes to the environment."
Dickerson pressed Haley on the question, asking if the president believes human activities have lead to climate change.
"I mean, John, I just gave you the answer," Haley told him. "I mean, that's what he believes. And so that's as clear as I know to give it. You know, we can all weigh this out. But at the end of the day, watch what the president does. What he is doing is making sure that we have jobs for American citizens but also making sure that we have a clean environment."
Her statements to CNN and CBS came after several administration officials on Friday said they either did not know what Trump's stance is or that they had not spoken with him. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway would not answer directly several questions about whether Trump still considers global warming to be a hoax, as he has stated several times in the past.
"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. in a Friday interview.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also on Friday called Trump an "environmentalist," but told the "Today" show that the president's controversial decision to pull from the Paris climate agreement was made for economic reasons.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was asked multiple times an appearance in the White House briefing room if Trump believes in climate change or if he thinks it's a hoax, but declined to answer the question directly, saying the discussions the president had with his team did not revolve around personal beliefs.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also would not answer if Trump thinks humans are linked to climate change, telling reporters Wednesday that "honestly, I haven't asked him that. I can get back to you."
Meanwhile, 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.
But on Saturday, Haley told Tapper that Trump does know the world's climate is changing, and that the United States has to be responsible for making sure that trend is curbed. Further, the ambassador defended Trump's move to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, saying that the decision does not change the United States' commitment to slowing climate change.
"Just because the U.S. got out of a club doesn't mean we aren't going to care about the environment," Haley said.
CNN noted that Haley's statements are the closest an administration official have bade to acknowledge that Trump does believe global warming is both happening, and that human influence is causing it.
However, Trump did acknowledge to The New York Times in November, after winning the presidential election, that he believes there is "some connectivity" between human-created pollutants and climate change.
He would not say, though, how much he thinks humans have contributed, instead saying it "also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now."
Haley said she believes Trump will always consider America's best interests first, including with the environment.
"The rest of the world wanted to tell us how to do it," she told Tapper. "But we'll do it under our own terms."
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