Whatever you think of the man, it’s fair to say that Donald Trump is a busy person. Whether he’s siding with Russia over US intelligence agencies, or whether he's hammering away at Twitter, there’s a lot on his plate. He notably hasn’t thrown shade at science lately, though, but thanks to another obsequious interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, that’s all now (regrettably) changed.
Hot off the heels of his infamous Helsinki summit, he tried to explain what he thought the most significant threat to the world was at the present moment.
“To me, the most important issue is the nuclear issue,” he began. “I know President Obama said global warming is our biggest problem and I would say that no, it's nuclear warming is our biggest problem by a factor of about…” He pauses to think for a moment. “…five million.”
Nuclear warming. Five million. That’s some hardcore science right there.
That figure has about as much meaning as “covfefe”. It’s not clear what “nuclear warming” is either, but then again, we can’t all be very stable geniuses. In any case, an apocalyptic nuclear winter would be the very opposite of a warming event.
This particularly weird comment seems to harken back to one that Trump made during his pre-election campaigning days. While at a stop in Indiana in May 2015, he said: “I believe global warming is the single biggest problem in our country, but it’s made of the nuclear variety.”
When it comes to saying imbecilic stuff about climate science, POTUS has mainly left that to his federal acolytes, including the omnishambolic Rick Perry and the now-ex-head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt: Scandal Collector.
Trump made some daft comments about the Paris Agreement at the start of this year, but the last time he attacked climate science specifically in his usual, eloquent-as-a-sandwich manner was back in December, when he complained about a particularly cold winter and wondered where all that global warming went.
Sure, it’s fair to say that nuclear war is a clear and present danger to the world. The metaphorical Doomsday Clock, after all, has recently set the watch at two minutes to midnight. This means that – primarily due to nuclear proliferation and *cough* unpredictable nuclear powers – key experts think the world is roughly as close to a catastrophe as it was in 1953, when the Cold War really got going.
You could, however, certainly argue that anthropogenic climate change – which ranges from an inconvenience to an existential crisis – is the number one danger facing our planet right now. Or, perhaps, you could suggest we stand most to lose because the man in the White House seems to know nothing about anything, including basic scientific information.