Thursday, January 09, 2020


So this happened today:
President Trump said during a White House briefing on Thursday that he is a “big believer” in climate change and that it is “not a hoax” soon after his administration announced a plan to overhaul an environmental policy act. When asked by a White House pool reporter if he believes climate change is a hoax, the president said, “No, no. Not at all. Nothing’s a hoax. Nothing’s a hoax about that. It’s a very serious subject. I want clean air. I want clean water.” He then claimed, “The environment is very important to me. Somebody wrote a book that I’m an environmentalist called The Environmentalist... I’ll bring it to my next news conference, perhaps. I’m sure you’ll report all about it.”
In fact, Trump has said that climate change is a hoax on more than one occasion. (Sometimes he prefers to complain about "GLOBAL WARMING bullshit.") But what about that last claim? Did someone really write a book about Trump called The Environmentalist?

The Washington Post says, "If this book exists, Google isn’t aware of it." But it does exist. Trump just has the title wrong.

Oh, and it was written by a former Trump employee and golfing buddy.

The book, apparently published by its author in the fall of 2016, is titled Donald J. Trump: An Environmental Hero.

The author is Edward Russo. Here's his story:
Ed Russo is an anomaly. He describes himself as a "dirt-kisser tree hugger" and an "environmental crusader." He's also a Trump loyalist.

"I think he's doing a great job," said Russo, 71, who was a longtime environmental consultant for President Trump's businesses....

Russo, who said he turned down a job as Trump's White House environmental adviser, remains a staunch defender of his former boss and golfing partner. (Russo says Trump is "a great golfer" but he "can't chip worth shit.") He thinks Trump has been unfairly targeted by greens and the media, and he says the president and his team have been hard at work on the issues that really matter.

During his 17 years working for Trump, Russo said, "he was a staunch supporter of clean air and clean water. He focuses on that. ... He has a practical approach to environmental protection."
Russo may be a "dirt-kisser tree hugger" and an "environmental crusader," but his understanding of climate change is on par with that of his ex-boss.
Trump and his administration have been under fire from the left for their environmental policies, including their assault on President Obama's climate regulations. Trump famously said before his election that global warming was an "expensive hoax" created "by and for the Chinese."

But while that line from Trump often gets quoted, Russo said, "I've never heard anyone come back and say, 'Well, what do you think he meant by that?' ... He meant that the climate is always changing and global warming is distracting a lot of people...."
In 2017, Russo issued a statement in response to EPA cuts made by the Trump administration:
"Any policies that make the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more efficient and bring more focus to clean air and clean water will be appreciated by all Americans. The proposed budget cuts will force the EPA to limit its scope and concentrate more specifically on its mission to ensure clean air and clean water.

"Frustrations with the EPA come from both the business community and environmentalists. There are a significant number of projects that are designed to help the environment that the agency is taking too long to enact. Contrary to what critics may allege, the budget cuts are not designed to allow developers to cut corners and get quicker, or inappropriate, approvals of projects. The strategy is to streamline regulations to increase focus on the priorities – clean air and clean water. President Trump and EPA Administrator Pruitt will demand efficiency, which will result in solid environmental work...."
Streamlining -- yeah, I'm sure that was the point of those cuts.

A year after that statement was issued, this story appeared:
A longtime environmental consultant for Donald Trump's golf course in Bedminster, N.J., has obtained a federal research contract for a company where he now works, in an example of how business and government mix in the Trump administration.

The consultant, Edward Russo, worked for the Trump Organization for more than a decade, and self-published a book, Donald J. Trump: An Environmental Hero.

More recently, he became the chief executive of the U.S. division of an Israeli company, Water-Gen, which makes devices that extract drinking water from air. In January, Water-Gen signed a research contract with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, aimed at boosting this technology. The agreement was announced at the end of March, just as Russo was visiting Trump’s Mar a Lago resort in Florida as a guest at an interfaith gathering. While he was there, Russo got a photo with the president, which Water-Gen posted to its Facebook page....

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Water-Gen executives had at least two meetings with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last year, after Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate and Trump donor, requested that the agency talk with company.

Russo said Adelson is an informal supporter of Water-Gen, but has no position in the company.
Seems totally legit to me!

And here's a sample passage from Russo's book:
Let me make this clear and challenge anyone who disagrees. Golf, especially the way Donald does golf, is a significant environmental asset. A golf course is irrigated open space. The next time you fly over an area during a severe drought, like the one that occurred in New Jersey in 2005, look out the window and look for green patches. They are all golf courses. Where do you think the wildlife will go to survive? I challenge anyone to prove that Trump National Bedminster is not a spectacular environmental net gain. Donald Trump's vision to create the best golf course in the world included the development of the most environmentally sensitive golf course in the world....
There you have it! It's in a book, so it must be true!

No comments: