President-elect Donald Trump will soon learn that governing with campaign rhetoric instead of facts is not a good idea, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday. “The President has, himself, observed that it’s one thing to make grand pronouncements on the campaign trail, but once you enter the Oval Office and you’re responsible for managing the affairs of the United States and being leader of the free world, reality has a way of intruding,” Earnest told reporters during the daily press briefing.
Trump talked a mean climate denial game during his campaign, telling The Washington Post at one point that he is “not a great believer in man-made climate change.” Long before entering the race he called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and “bullshit.”
However, since being elected, his tone has moderated a bit. During a post-election interview with The New York Times, Trump said he would keep an open mind about the nation’s continued participation in the international Paris Agreement on climate change, which during his campaign he stated he would “cancel.”
“We’ll see to what extent reality intrudes on some of the rhetoric that was used by the president-elect in the area of climate change. For example, he at one point tweeted that climate change was a manufactured hoax by the Chinese government. So that obviously is not substantiated by any sort of facts or evidence or science,” Earnest said.
Earlier this week, Trump selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a climate change denier currently suing to overturn EPA regulations on carbon emissions from coal plants. “It will be important for the American people and for people in this room to compare the plans that are put forward by the next administration with the plans and results that were produced under President Obama’s leadership,” Earnest said.