'It's a simple question, Mr. Pruitt': Joe Scarborough grills EPA head over Trump's climate change position

Pruitt Morning JoeScreenshot/MSNBCJoe Scarborough and Scott Pruitt.

The hosts of “Morning Joe” on Tuesday confronted Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt over whether President Donald Trump believes that climate change is real, and not, as he previously put it, a Chinese hoax.

After Pruitt repeatedly dodged host Willie Geist’s question about whether he discussed climate change with the president before pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord last week, host Joe Scarborough jumped in.

“It’s a simple question Mr. Pruitt, it’s a simple question: Have you ever talked to the president about whether he believes climate change is real?” Scarborough asked. “Does he still believe it was a hoax launched in China? Wouldn’t you like to know?”

Pruitt argued the Paris accord, an agreement dedicated to reducing carbon emissions that fuel climate change, would damage the economy, a claim some economists have disputed.

“I think what’s important Joe, is the president has said when you make decisions on environmental decisions internationally, that we put America’s interests first,” Pruitt said.

Scarborough abruptly interjected, telling Pruitt that although he agreed with the need to put US interests before international interests, he was “just trying to get an answer” out of the EPA administrator.

“It’s important for Americans to know whether their president believes that global warming was hatched as a conspiracy theory in China,” Scarborough asked. Doesn’t that matter to you?”

When Pruitt dodged the question, explaining instead that if the US joined the Paris accord, lawsuits would compel the EPA to meet the agreement’s regulations, the MSNBC host cut in again.

“This interview has to stop in its tracks until I just get a yes, no answer from you on whether you think its important their president believes that climate change is a conspiracy theory based out of China,” Scarborough said.

“The president has indicated, Joe, that the climate is changing,” Pruitt replied. “I indicated during my confirmation process that there’s a warming trend with respect to the climate, and moreover, there’s a human contribution to that.” 

Moments later, Pruitt added: “I think the reason you’re asking this question is you’re trying to get away from the merits of the Paris accord.”

The “Morning Joe” hosts were far from the first to grill Pruitt over Trump’s position on climate change.

On Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace and ABC host George Stephanopoulos each pressed Pruitt four times on their respective shows about the president’s position on the issue.

“I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but you’re not going to tell me whether or not the president believes climate change is a hoax?” Wallace asked on his show.

“The President has indicated that climate changes,” Pruitt said. “It’s always changing. I’ve indicated the same.”

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