Trump and Bannon Chat on Climate Change
November 15, 2016
Today, Trump is president-elect. And Bannon, a top executive at the hard-right Breitbart News who helped guide Trump’s victorious campaign and has been named a senior White House strategist, is set to be one of the new president’s most influential advisers.
The clearest public sense of how the two plan to work together — and what policies Bannon will probably try to push — came over the course of nine one-on-one interviews on Bannon’s radio show between November 2015 and June of this year.
In those exchanges, a dynamic emerged, with Bannon often coaxing Trump to agree to his viewpoint, whether on climate change, foreign policy or the need to take on Republican leaders in Congress.
At times, Bannon seemed to coach Trump to soften the harder edges of his message, to make it more palatable to a broader audience, while in other cases he pushed Trump to take tougher positions. He flattered Trump, praising his negotiating skills and the size of his campaign crowds.
In the December interview, Bannon presented the problems of climate change and the Islamic State as a binary option — offering Trump, in effect, the choice of fighting one or the other.
“Do you agree with the pope and President Obama that [climate change] is absolutely a path to global suicide, if specific deals are not cut in Paris, versus focusing on radical Islam?” Bannon asked, referring to the negotiations that eventually led to a global climate agreement in Paris last year.
Trump said that what other people considered to be climate change was probably just weather. Radical Islam should be the focus.
“We are fools,” Trump said, meaning the Obama administration.