Last Friday I commented on the question that is echoing throughout media since the Paris Accord announcement, “Does the president believe in climate change?” I am hardly the first person to note that there are numerous religious aspects to how many approach the issue. A variation on that question brought a “Morning Joe” interview with EPA director Pruitt to a dead halt this morning. The questioning was ostensibly about a tweet of Trump’s from 2012, but as Pruitt stuck to his talking points, Scarborough kept pushing until eventually this (emphasis added)
“Mr. Pruitt, it’s a simple question. Have you ever talked to the president about whether he believes climate change is real? Does he still believe it was a hoax launched in China? Wouldn’t you like to know?”
That’s spooky. “Is it the president’s opinion…?” “What data does the president offer for his China contention?” These are reasonable questions for journalists to ask. But, “Does the president believe…?,” should raise all sorts of eyebrows. Consider – “Does the president believe in God?” – “Don’t they believe Satan and Jesus are brothers? Does the candidate share that belief?” – “Does the president believe the Roman Catholic church is the one, true church?” – “Does the judge believe an unborn fetus is a full human life?”
“Does the president believe…?,” has an inquisitory nature to it, and borders on a religious test, even if the object of the question is not currently a formal religion. On Friday I commented that the question was revelatory, but it is becoming frightening.