Presumably, Donald Trump didn’t bring the hack he hired to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, along with him to Saudi Arabia because the fossil-fuel fetishist wouldn’t want to leave that petrostate.

The New York Times, presumably trying to reduce the public’s contempt towards its decision to hire climate-change denier Bret Stephens to foul its op-ed page, has tried to repair the damage by focusing on the damage Pruitt’s policies will inflict upon our planet:

In just the last three months, with Mr. Pruitt in charge, the E.P.A. postponed a long-planned rule requiring companies like Devon [Energy] to retrofit drilling equipment to prevent leaks of methane gas — a major contributor to climate change — and to collect more data on how much of the gas is spewing into the air.

The Interior Department, meanwhile, announced this month that it would reconsider a separate rule limiting the burning of unwanted methane gas from wells drilled on federal and Indian lands, a process called flaring. That announcement came the same day the Senate narrowly rejected industry calls to repeal the same rule.

Interior officials have also announced their intention to repeal or revise a contentious rule requiring companies like Devon to take extra steps to prevent groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, a drilling technique in which chemicals and water are forced into rock formations.

Environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund are outraged by these moves, and have vowed to fight any rollbacks in court.

“Devon is doing to the oil and gas industry what Donald Trump did to the Republican Party, pushing the whole agenda into a world of extremes,” said Mark Brownstein, a vice president at the Environmental Defense Fund.

Brownstein’s statement is inaccurate: the GOP’s agenda on climate was extreme long before Trump seized control of the White House, thanks in part to so-called “moderates” who, by their abandonment of sensible climate policy, effectively provided aid and comfort to polluters. The GOP’s extremism on climate is also the fault of those who have swallowed whole the lies of right-wing media entities (and some mainstream-media entities too, thanks to the climate-denying crackpots on the op-ed pages of the Boston Globe, Washington Post and Times) and voted accordingly.

(On Friday, the Times‘s David Bornstein discussed the grassroots push for federal carbon-pricing legislation, an effort that was also covered by the Times in 2013, as well as in the second season of the Years of Living Dangerously documentary series; it was hard to read the Bornstein piece without thinking of the raw contempt Stephens must have for those who support carbon-pricing legislation–as well as for his former Wall Street Journal colleague Holman W. Jenkins Jr., who in 2014 observed that a federal revenue-neutral carbon tax was “our first-best policy [to address climate change], rewarding an infinite and unpredictable variety of innovations by which humans would satisfy their energy needs while releasing less carbon into the atmosphere.” Strange that the Times didn’t decide to recruit Jenkins when they felt the burning need to hire a conservative columnist.)

As for Pruitt, his actions have the full support of Trump, and Trump’s actions have the full support of
his believers. Those who voted for Trump don’t really care if their air and water get dirtier, if their environment becomes less healthy. After all, they think their savior Trump will take them to paradise.

The threat posed by the religion of Trumpism–to our democracy, to our ecology, to our very sanity–is the best argument possible for maintaining the Constitutional separation of church and state. These followers are willing to do anything for their deity, even if it means harming the rest of us.

Speaking of the rest of us, shame on CNN’s Anderson Cooper for apologizing after speaking the truth about Trump disciple Jeffrey Lord. If anything, Cooper should call on CNN to sever ties with Lord and other devotees of the Donald on the cable channel; after all, who wants to watch a bunch of religious zealots on cable news?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.