Donald Trump's spokesman says he cannot speak for Donald Trump on climate change

Sean Spicer says he hasn't 'had opportunity' to discuss issue with President 

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The Independent US

Donald Trump’s spokesman says he cannot confirm whether the President believes climate change is a hoax because they have not “had an opportunity to have that discussion”.

Sean Spicer repeatedly deflected questions on Mr Trump’s personal briefs at a heated press briefing following his withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

“What does the President actually believe about climate change - does he still believe it’s a hoax?” a reporter asked.  

“Can you clarify that?  Because apparently nobody else at the White House can.”

Mr Spicer responded by saying: “I have not had an opportunity to have that discussion.”

Later questioned on whether he could have the conversation with Mr Trump and report back at the next press briefing, he replied: “If I can, I will.”

Trump pulls US out of Paris climate change deal

The President made numerous controversial statements on climate change before his election victory, including calling global warming a “hoax” and claiming it was “created by and for the Chinese” to damage American trade.

The White House spokesman told reporters he was “not privy” to conversations between Mr Trump and the Secretary of State on the issue, or detail how the President came to his decision.

When asked whether the move to withdraw from the Paris Agreement had been easy or difficult, Mr Spicer said: “I honestly don't know.  

“I mean, that's what…the President is the ultimate decider, and when he comes to make a decision.

“When he gets the information that is required he lets us know that has a decision and he announces it.”

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency had already evaded questions on Mr Trump’s personal beliefs on global warming at the same briefing.

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(Reuters)

“His decision was, no, and that was the extent of our discussions,” said Mr Pruitt, himself a prolific defender of the fossil fuel industry and sceptic over human-caused climate change.

Mr Spicer said he was also unable to speak for the President on John McCain’s claim that Vladimir Putin is a greater threat to the US than Isis or on a mounting scandal surrounding Jared Kushner.

“How can you not answer questions about it when the President himself tweets about it?” one reporter asked.

Mr Trump’s announcements frequently contradict those by his aides, with discrepancies over the firing of James Comey and passing of intelligence to Russia sparking serious questions on the credibility of White House communications.

Mr Spicer’s repetition of a Fox News pundit’s claim British intelligence agencies had “wiretapped” Trump Tower in efforts to defend the President in March sparked outrage, before the White House attempted to backtrack.

His first ever press briefing saw him fail to support Mr Trump’s disproved assertion that the crowd at his inauguration was bigger than Barack Obama’s, before Mr Spicer was forced to defend the President’s claim the media was not reporting on terror attacks.

A frequent stumbling block for White House communications staff has been over investigations into alleged links between Mr Trump’s campaign team and Russia.

In the wake of the firing of Mr Comey, Mr Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed the President lost faith in the FBI director’s leadership and was simply listening to the Deputy Attorney General’s recommendation. 

But in a television interview afterwards, Mr Trump said he took the decision partly because “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story”.

Senior White House officials dismissed reports the President had shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister as a “false story”, but Mr Trump effectively confirmed it with a series of tweets claiming he had the “absolute right” to share information on terrorism.

His frequent attacks on “leakers” have also been read as unwitting confirmation of anonymously sourced reports from the intelligence community, while Mr Trump has himself admitted his spokespeople can be wrong.

“As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” he tweeted last month.

“Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future “press briefings” and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy?”

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