Donald Trump arrived in Southern California Tuesday evening for a campaign rally hosted by Veterans for a Strong America, just one day ahead of the second Republican presidential debate on Sept. 15, 2015.
Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC

Trump: Climate change is ‘not one of our big problems’


Donald Trump doesn’t consider climate change to be a significant problem, even going so far as to dismiss the issue Thursday as nothing more than “weather changes.”

“It’s a big planet.”
Donald Trump
The Republican presidential candidate made the remarks during an early morning interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” just hours after the subject was reluctantly addressed by a handful of candidates during Wednesday night’s GOP debate in California. 

“I consider climate change to be not one our big problems. I consider it to be not a big problem at all,” said Trump. “I think it’s weather. I think it’s weather changes. It could be some man-made something, but you know, if you look at China, they’re doing nothing about it. Other countries, they’re doing nothing about it. It’s a big planet.”

RELATED: GOP climate skeptics reluctantly address environment

During the debate, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie criticized the Obama administration’s plans to combat climate change. Rubio, who has denied that human activity is causing climate change, said “We’re not going to destroy our economy the way the left-wing government we’re under wants us to do.”

Similarly, Christie, who has said humans have something to do with climate change, said, “We shouldn’t be destroying our economy in order to chase some wild left-wing idea that somehow, us, by ourselves are going to fix the climate.” And Walker argued the White House’s policies to address the issue will kill manufacturing jobs.

Meanwhile, Trump – who has been leading in the polls – was the target of many of his GOP opponents, with several questioning the real estate mogul and former reality TV host’s brash temperament, leadership abilities and record as a businessman. Some of the night’s most notable clashes were between him and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who did well enough at the last “undercard” debate to make the main stage Wednesday night in Simi Valley, where she again stood out among a crowded Republican field. Her appeal to women over Trump’s recent jab at her appearance drew wild applause. Fiorina and Trump also traded blows about their past, controversial business records.

Trump told msnbc on Thursday that he felt the debate was “a little bit unfair” to the other candidates “because every question had to do with me.” He also downplayed Fiorina’s performance, saying that while she did well “I didn’t see it as a standout.”

Fiorina also discussed her debate performance on Thursday. On “Morning Joe,” she said, “I went into this debate understanding half the people watching had never heard my name … It was a really important opportunity for me to continue to introduce myself,” she said, later adding, “I hope what people saw last night is I can win this job and I can do this job.”

One of the biggest questions going forward is if Fiorina, who has been polling in the middle of the pack nationally, will rise to the top and potentially slow down Trump’s momentum. Her next event is on Friday at the Heritage Action Forum in Greenville, South Carolina. When asked where she goes from here, Fiorina told msnbc, “I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, which is working hard every single day.”