US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told CNN’s Jake Tapper that President Donald Trump believes “the climate is changing” during an interview that will air on Sunday.
Tapper initially asked Haley to confirm whether or not Trump still believed his famous 2013 claim that global warming was a hoax “invented by and for the Chinese” in order to hurt US manufacturing.
“What I will tell you is the regulations from the Paris Agreement were [a disadvantage to] our companies. We know that,” Haley said. “I knew that as a governor, we know that now. The jobs were not attainable as long as we had to live under those regulations.”
She added that the US would continue to be a leader on environmental protection. “The rest of the world wanted to tell us how to do it. We’re saying, ‘We will do it, but we’ll do it under our terms,'” Haley said.
Tapper replied and said that the standards Haley was referring to were set by the US and not by other countries.
“No, the standards were set by President Obama and not passed through the Senate because the standards couldn’t have been achieved,” Haley interjected.
“Yeah, but my point is, you said the world was imposing standards on the United States,” Tapper replied. “President Obama, the President of the United States at the time, is the one who set the standards.”
Tapper then asked Haley to address whether Trump still believed climate change was a hoax. “I just want to be clear on this: You’re not willing to acknowledge that calling climate change a Chinese hoax is just a big box of crazy?” Tapper asked.
Haley replied: “President Trump believes the climate is changing, and he believes pollutants are part of that equation. So, that is the fact, that is where we are, that’s where it stands.”
She continued, “He knows that it’s changing, he knows the US has to be responsible with it, and that’s what we’re going to do. Just because we got out of a club doesn’t mean that we don’t care about the environment.”
Haley was the first administration official to address the president’s views on climate change since he announced his decision on Thursday to pull out of the landmark agreement.
When officials like Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, and Scott Pruitt were asked about Trump’s climate change views, they largely deflected the question or said they had not yet had the chance to ask Trump about it. If the US completes the withdrawl process from the Paris Agreement, it will join Nicaragua and Syria in being the only countries not to sign onto the deal.