U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn speaks during the 2nd Annual Creativity Conference presented by the Motion Picture Association of America at The Newseum on May 2, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Kris Connor/Getty

House GOP leader: ‘I think the Earth is in a cooling trend’

In Monday night’s debate, Hillary Clinton reminded the audience that Donald Trump “thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real.” The Republican quickly rejected the claim. “I did not,” he insisted. “I did not. I do not say that.”

Moments later, a 2012 tweet from Trump started making the rounds in which he said, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese.”

In other words, Trump was caught brazenly lying about one of the most important challenges facing humanity. The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein asked a variety of Trump campaign surrogates for their reactions to this, including Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). Consider this amazing exchange:
HUFFPOST: During the debate Donald Trump definitively said that he never once said that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. But here is a tweet where he says just that. [We attempt to show her the tweet.]

BLACKBURN: Well, I don’t have my glasses on.

HP: Come on! OK, I’ll read it. [We read it.]

BLACKBURN: Well, many times when we talk about issues related to the climate, y’all have countries that would not be forced to come into compliance with some of these agreements. Then they will say they don’t have to abide by that, they plan to buy more coal.

HP: Do you believe that climate change is a hoax?

BLACKBURN: I do not believe in climate change. I think the Earth is in a cooling trend. It is not in a warming trend.
The right-wing congresswoman wasn’t kidding. Blackburn went on to argue that the planet “is in a cooling trend. It has cooled for about the past 10 years.” Reminded that nine of the hottest years in the history of the planet have been recorded in the past decade, the Tennessee lawmaker once again insisted, “We have also seen the past 10 years a little bit of a cooling.”

Remember, Blackburn isn’t just some random conservative activist. She’s a frequent Sunday-show guest; she was rumored to be a contender for the GOP’s vice presidential nomination; and she’s the vice chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. In other words, her ignorance isn’t just cringe-worthy; it’s arguably quite dangerous given her official responsibilities.

If she’d said dealing with the climate crisis would cost too much, Blackburn would be wrong. If she’d denounced various remedies as damaging to the economy, that’d be wrong, too.

But by clinging to “global cooling” nonsense, what Blackburn actually said is vastly worse. The vice chair of the House Energy Committee looks at an intensifying climate crisis and concludes that reality is the exact opposite of what the evidence shows.

History will not be kind.