Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is not one to mince words, and in an interview with CNN on Thursday, he didn't hold back. In a discussion with anchor Chris Cuomo about Hurricane Harvey, Sanders said it's "dumb" to ignore climate change and other causes that may explain the extreme amount of rainfall.
His comments were in response to the Trump administration's stance. Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, went on CNN this week and told Cuomo it was inappropriate to bring up climate change when there's the more immediate issue of bringing relief to people in Texas.
Cuomo ran both interviews and he referenced his conversation with Conway when he brought up the topic Thursday — why similar weather events happen and what climate change has to do with it — with Sanders. The Vermont senator did not hold back:
I think it is pretty dumb not to ask some hard questions about why more rain is now falling, and has fallen in the Houston area, as I understand it, than any time that people can have measured. Is it related to climate change? Is some of the intensity and the magnitude of this related to Climate change? I think most scientists believe it is, and the right question to be asking is, "What does this mean for the future?"
Sanders went on to explain why these questions need to be answered, for example planning for more such storms in the future. "That is a question that has to be looked at," he added. "It is my view that Trump is dead wrong when he talks about climate change being a hoax. I think it is a very serious, serious problem for our country and around the world."
For those pointing out that Conway's also right, that the focus in the immediate moment should be those most affected by the storm, know that Sanders would agree. And storm relief should be one of the few bipartisan ideas that passes through Congress in the coming weeks. Sanders, before even addressing the question on climate change, talked about the importance of saving lives and rescuing people:
Obviously, the task right now is to save lives and do everything that we can to rescue people. The task right now, and it's a very difficult task, is to make sure that people who have lost their homes, lost everything that they own, are treated with dignity and respect, that we try to find safe housing for those people. That is the immediate task.
For the time being, climate change remains a partisan issue, but saving those immediately in need is not.