Trump posts climate talking points online before debate with Biden

Former President Trump seemingly posted talking points regarding his and President Biden’s respective records on climate change from his former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler on his Truth Social platform Thursday, ahead of his CNN debate with Biden.

The post advises Trump to say that carbon dioxide emissions dropped under his administration and to blame Biden for energy cost increases and rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, which the talking points state “send[s] American dollars overseas to benefit other countries like China.”

Those arguments are a marked departure from Trump’s historical rhetoric on climate change simply by virtue of acknowledging the relationship between it and greenhouse gas emissions. The former president has repeatedly falsely claimed climate change is a “hoax” and has vowed to wind back regulations on the fossil fuel industry.

Trump’s first term did see a drop in carbon emissions, albeit at a slower rate than under former President Obama. In the first three years of the Trump presidency, emissions fell 0.5 percent before dropping steeply in 2020 due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trump administration lifted a number of restrictions on oil and gas pipelines and exited the Paris agreement, while Biden reentered and denied permits to the Keystone XL Pipeline shortly after taking office.

Despite these differences, however, domestic oil production has reached an all-time high under the Biden administration, with U.S. crude output breaking a record in 2023. U.S. production has outpaced that of Saudi Arabia and Russia over the last six years, a period including both presidents.

After the end of the Trump administration, Wheeler was unsuccessfully nominated by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) to serve as the state’s secretary of natural resources. Youngkin instead named him director of the state Office of Regulatory Management, which Wheeler left in March.

The Hill has reached out to both Wheeler and the Trump campaign to clarify whether he has any current formal advisory role with the campaign.

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