President Donald J. Trump, the man who once said global warming was a hoax invented by the Chinese government, has claimed he has "a natural instinct for science" in a new wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press.
Only a fortnight after the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued what is arguably the most comprehensively damning report on the fate of the planet in the history of science, Trump assured people they don't have to worry, because – basically – he has a gut feeling about stuff like this.
"I mean, you have scientists on both sides of it. My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years," Trump told AP when questioned about the looming irreversibility of catastrophic climate change.
"And I didn't talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture."
The comments, which are not encouraging as world leaders prepare to send delegations to the UN's COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland in December, come just days after Trump gave an interview to 60 Minutes, acknowledging "something" was happening to the climate, but also introducing new doubts.
"I think something's happening. Something's changing and it'll change back again," Trump told CBS's Lesley Stahl.
"I don't think it's a hoax, I think there's probably a difference. But I don't know that it's manmade."
In the same interview, when pressed on his denial stance, Trump countered by claiming scientists "have a very big political agenda".
The thing is, despite such grand statements from its figurehead, the Trump administration is fully aware of the devastating impacts of climate change, even as it pushes to dismantle domestic environmental regulations and reneges on American commitments to the Paris climate deal.
Trump said, "I have a natural instinct for science."— Jason Overstreet (@JasonOverstreet) October 17, 2018
Here is that instinct being used to blind himself by staring at an eclipse: pic.twitter.com/56IUpurV8z
According to Trump, these protections aren't necessary, and the scientists telling you otherwise are wrong or lying.
"I want the cleanest air on the planet and our air now is cleaner than it's ever been," Trump said to AP, even though this isn't true, and even if it were, his own government's stated aim is to relax pollution standards.
"I mean, you know, I am a person that believes very, very strongly in the environment. I am truly an environmentalist," he added.
"I know some people might not think of me as that, but I'm an environmentalist. Everything I want and everything I have is clean. Clean is very important."