As more of President-elect Donald Trump's administration picks emerge, it's hard to escape the feeling that people aren't exactly thrilled about his choices. Democrats especially have decried appointments like Jeff Sessions, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry, and now Rex Tillerson, the Exxon Mobile CEO who has been nominated for secretary of state. One such politician who has been critical of Trump and his decision-making is Bernie Sanders. On Tuesday, Sanders released a statement in reaction to Tillerson's appointment, and he didn't exactly hide his disapproval.
The statement is an overall condemnation of Tillerson, but also focuses specifically on both his ties to Russia and his foot in the fossil fuel industry as the head of Exxon, which he believes is dangerous:
Mr. Trump's nomination of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state is sending a very troubling message to the international community. Not only is Mr. Tillerson a pal of Russia's authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, but he is the head of one of the largest oil companies in the world. In this appointment, Mr. Trump is making it abundantly clear that the short-term profits of the fossil fuel industry are more important than climate change and the future of the planet. Very sad. Very dangerous. Mr. Tillerson must be opposed.
And Sanders is spot-on with this response. Since winning the election, Trump has been a bit wishy-washy about the issue of climate change. In an interview with Chris Matthews on Fox News Sunday, Trump said he's "still open-minded" about climate change, and that "nobody really knows" whether it's a serious threat or not. Even though he claims to be open-minded, the people he's choosing to surround himself with during his time as president send the signal that he does not see climate change as a serious threat.
Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency is climate change denier Scott Pruitt. If choosing to have someone who doesn't believe in scientists' warnings about the environmental damage of climate change to head the country's agency to protect the environment isn't a slap in the face, I don't know what is. Then there's Rick Perry, who would have said he wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy if he had remembered what it was called. He will now be overseeing it.
With several more appointments yet to be made, we can only hope that the rest of Trump's advisors will embody a more diverse view of climate change, and have a bigger desire to protect the environment while we still can.