a drama in three acts
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt spent a press briefing Friday dodging questions about whether President Trump believes in climate change. He declined to give a straight answer not once, not twice, but three times.
The first time, Pruitt was asked for a simple yes or no answer on whether Trump thinks climate change is real. He gave a lengthy answer explaining that the discussions surrounding the Paris Agreement — which Trump announced Thursday he was pulling the U.S. out of — had only focused on determining whether the climate accord is "good or not for this country":
Moments later, another reporter asked if Trump still believes climate change is a "hoax" invented by the Chinese, which is a real comment Trump once made. Pruitt again answered by insisting their discussions about the Paris accord were centered solely on whether the accord was good for the U.S., claiming it had put the nation at an "economic disadvantage."
A third reporter tried once more to corner Pruitt by pointing out that the EPA administrator should probably be able to tell the American people whether the president believes in climate change. "As I indicated, several times through the process, there's enough to deal with, with respect to the Paris Agreement, and making an informed decision about this important issue," Pruitt said, insisting he'd "answered the question a couple times" already.
Here's CBS News' Jacqueline Alemany on what the bigger take on these three answers is. Becca Stanek