Global-warming alarmist Al Gore, formerly the vice president under President Bill Clinton, has met with President-elect Donald Trump and Trump’s daughter Ivanka at Trump Tower, in what Gore described as “a sincere search for areas of common ground” on the subject of “global climate change.”
“I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect, Donald Trump,” Gore told reporters after the hour-and-a-half-long meeting. “I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I’m just going to leave it at that.”
The meeting was somewhat of a surprise, considering Gore’s well-known leadership in arguing that global warming (now usually called "climate change") has been caused mostly by human activity, and Trump’s status as clearly the most serious skeptic of that belief of any major-party nominated presidential candidate since it became an issue in the '90s. Trump is considered a strong skeptic of the human-caused climate change theory, even calling it a “hoax.”
Shortly after the November election, Gore expressed hope that Trump “will work with the overwhelming majority of us who believe that the climate crisis is the greatest threat we face as a nation.” One could dispute this assertion of Gore’s that the “overwhelming majority” believe it is our greatest threat, when polls indicate that most Americans put it way down the list in their issues of concern. Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was certainly a vocal advocate for Gore’s position on this issue, and she failed to win the election. If anything, her shrill opposition to coal production is thought to have cost her a considerable number of votes in the coal-mining areas of West Virginia and western Pennsylvania.
Why would Gore hold out hope that he can flip Trump on this issue?
While Trump has been a consistent skeptic of Gore’s alarmist position on global warming, Trump’s daughter Ivanka is closer to Gore than to her father on the issue. Politico has reported that Ivanka “wants to make climate change … one of her signature issues,” and is in “the early stages of exploring how to use her spotlight to speak out on the issue.”
Speaking on his radio program, Rush Limbaugh has argued that the full implementation of the agenda of Gore and his allies on the issue of global climate change would lead to global communism. Allowing for some hyperbole on the part of the radio entertainer, implementation of all that Gore and those who think like him on climate change would clearly lead to international controls over most aspects of the world’s economies. In fact, the radical environmentalist movement has been described as watermelon socialism: green on the outside, but red on the inside.
Does Ivanka Trump have the clout to swing her father over to Gore’s position? All indications are that Trump has high regard for his daughter’s political persona, even going so far as to have her introduce him at the Republican National Convention (RNC) back in July. In that speech, Ivanka made it very clear that she was not a staunch conservative Republican. In fact, she was not even able to vote for her father in the New York Republican primary — because she was not a registered Republican, but a registered Independent at the time.
In her RNC speech, she made it clear that she is not an activist Republican: "Like many of my fellow millennials, I do not consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat. More than party affiliation, I vote based on what I believe is right, for my family and for my country. Sometimes it’s a tough choice.”
Certainly, one would agree that conservatives would have a difficult time — and constitutionalist conservatives have an almost impossible task — of deciding between the Democrat and Republican choices in most presidential contests. After all, with choices such as Bush (any of them) or Clinton, Dole or Clinton, McCain or Obama, and Romney or Obama, the voter who holds limited government and the Constitution in high regard is going to face a very unhappy decision.
But, that is not the type of “tough choice” Ivanka means. Despite her lamentations about “tough choices,” she did find a candidate in 2007 worthy of support when she gave $1,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Then, in 2012, she endorsed Mitt Romney for president. The next year, she and her husband hosted a fundraiser for Democrat Cory Booker, a New Jersery Senate candidate, donating $40,000 to his campaign coffers. One would think that a constitutional conservative would not find refraining from giving that kind of money to a liberal Democrat a tough choice — they just would not do it.
In her speech, Ivanka praised the “kindness and compassion that will enable him [Trump] to be the leader that this country needs.” Her choice of words could certainly make a constitutional conservative anxious, considering that George Herbert Walker Bush called for a “kinder and gentler America” during his 1988 campaign, when he was succeeding President Ronald Reagan, and then-Texas Governor George W. Bush campaigned for “compassionate conservativism” in the 2000 presidential race.
One area in which Ivanka has reportedly attempted to influence her father is on the issue of abortion. According to media reports, she has asked her father to tone down his “rhetoric” on abortion. It is not known if this means that she leans toward the pro-choice position, or if she simply thinks it would be better for her father to modify what he says on the hot-button issue for strategic political reasons.
An issue on which she has clearly influenced her father is childcare for working mothers. She declared, “As President, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce.” Exactly what laws she is talking about generally is not clear, but she gave some hint: “And he will focus on making quality childcare affordable and accessible for all. As a mother myself of three young children, I know how hard it is to work while raising a family. And I also know that I’m far more fortunate than most. American families need relief.”
Again, what role for government Ivanka sees in addressing this issue is not certain, but she did say that her father could not bear the “injustice” of “mothers who can’t afford the childcare required to return to work to better the lives of their families.”
Ivanka’s husband, businessman and real estate investor Jared Kushner, is considered a close advisor to Trump, and he is even expected to move to Washington, D.C., and take an active role in the White House.
But the rhetoric of Trump against the concept of “man-made” global climate change has not wavered yet, and he has made some specific appointments to his administration that give hope that he will not vacillate in his stance that it is all a hoax. For example, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Myron Ebell, who is being considered for an energy post in the Trump administration, is an opponent of the idea that global climate change is essentially related to human industrial activity. In a pointed remark aimed at scientists who argue that humans are causing global warming, Ebell said, “I really think that people should be suspicious of authority. The more you’re told that you have to believe something, the more you should question it.”
Certainly most global-warming alarmists are not hopeful that Ivanka Trump can change her father’s views on the subject. John Sterman, a professor of system dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, expressed despair for the advocates of the climate-change agenda in the aftermath of Trump’s victory: “There is little hope that the Clean Power Plan will survive the Supreme Court or for federal action to meet the U.S. commitment under the Paris accord. Worse, other key emitter nations — especially India — now have little reason to follow through on their Paris pledges. If the U.S. won’t, why should developing nations cut their emission?”
And President Reagan's daughter Patti was never able to turn her father away from his strong opposition to the "nuclear freeze" position in the 1980s.
So, while those who favor less government involvement in the economy and in our personal lives should keep a close eye on the potential influence of Ivanka Trump in her father’s White House, Trump’s own statements on the global-warming issue, coupled with some of his selections to help him combat the theory, should continue to give constitutional conservatives hope.
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