As a service to his readers, WC offers a new semi-regular feature: the Trump Lie of the Week. There’s certainly no shortage of whoppers to draw upon. Rather than just proving the facts that expose the lie, WC will also attempt to show the logical fallacies, distortions and rhetorical tricks used by the president-elect.
The Trumpster submitted to an interview on Fox News on Sunday with Fox “host” Chris Wallace. Wallace asked,“So, where are you on the environment?”1
Trump responded, “I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows. I’ve—look, I’m somebody that gets it. And nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast.”
Was The Donald talking about the environment in general or climate change in particular? Wallace’s question was not precise. But Wallace’s fuzzy softball question related back to a New York Times interview, where the question was climate change, so we’ll assume that was The Trumpster’s focus. But note he can now complain he was misunderstood and blame Wallace.
The reality of anthropogenic climate change is, in fact, “hard and fast.”
The last IPCC report, in November 2014, drafted and reviewed by hundreds of climate scientists from dozens of nations, summarized the state of the science. The report concluded, first, that “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.” And second, the cause? The report concluded there was a greater than 95 percent statistical probability to the fact that “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” Every bit of research since has only confirmed that 2014 conclusion.
It’s simply a lie to say “Nobody knows if anthropogenic climate change is real.”
Still in response to Wallace’s question, The Donald went on to claim that “other countries are eating our lunch” because manufacturing plants can be built more quickly without permits. It’s a classic instance of the non sequitur fallacy. If climate change is an existential threat to our climate, then whether or not foreign manufacturing plants are “eating our lunch” is irrelevant. If burning fossil fuels threatens us all, and it does, then refusing to act because someone else may get a temporary economic advantage is absurd and irrelevant.
Alternatively, the Trumpster is mentally ill and suffering from derailment, a thought disorder, characterized by discourse consisting of a sequence of unrelated or only remotely related ideas. The frame of reference often changes from one sentence to the next.
And don’t get WC started on the sheer arrogance of believing you are smarter and better informed that thousands of scientists.
So, a blatant, stupid, but strategic lie. Neither the first nor the last.
- Wallace flunks Effective Examination 101. Never ask an imprecise question. Watch how The Trumpster takes advantage of the ambiguity here. ↩