Trump, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday after touring damage from Hurricane Irma on Florida's west coast, said "we've had bigger storms than this" when asked about climate change.
"If you go back into the 1930s and the 1940s, and you take a look, we've had storms over the years that have been bigger than this," Trump said. "If you go back into the teens, you'll see storms that were as big or bigger. So we did have two horrific storms, epic storms, but if you go back into the '30s and '40s, and you go back into the teens, you'll see storms that were very similar and even bigger, OK?"
Trump campaign on a platform that rejected much of the scientific community's findings on climate change, arguing that the Obama administration used climate science too often to restrict business growth. Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate accords earlier this year and had previously had called climate change a "hoax" perpetrated by the Chinese.
Trump's comments Thursday go against the hyperbolic language he used in the lead-up and aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
as Irma moved closer to Florida.
Hurricane Irma is of epic proportion, perhaps bigger than we have ever seen. Be safe and get out of its way,if possible. Federal G is ready!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2017
, "Hurricane looks like largest ever recorded in the Atlantic!"
Hurricane looks like largest ever recorded in the Atlantic!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
And on Thursday in Florida, before his comments aboard Air Force One about climate change, Trump said the people of Florida experienced something "the likes of which we can say really say nobody's ever seen before."
"They've never seen a category like this come in because it came in really at a five," he said.
Top Trump administration officials have repeatedly dodged questions about how climate change affected the damage done by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, saying the issue should be discussed at a later date.
Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget, told CNN that climate change is a "longer discussion on another day" and a "big topic for the media."
And both FEMA administrator Brock Long and acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke avoided explicitly answering when asked Tuesday whether the government needs to be more focused on climate change because of the storms.
Trump's visit to tour hurricane damage on Thursday was his second trip in as many weeks. Trump toured the Houston area earlier this month after Hurricane Harvey brought massive flooding to the city. The storm and subsequent damage could end up being the costliest natural disaster in US