DAYTONA BEACH, FL — Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL) said Tuesday that Democratic lawmakers were “crass” to take demands for climate change action to the Senate floor in March for an all-night discussion on the issue. During a town hall meeting with constituents, DeSantis accused the 30 Senators of only wanting to appease their donors and afterward he suggested that there is reason to doubt climate science.
“There are some really wealthy hedge fund billionaires in San Francisco who have pledged a lot of money for Democratic candidates to argue for cap and trade and carbon tax and all these things,” he said. “So they have no intention of offering any of that right now because they know it would not be popular but it was basically an opportunity to show some of these donors they are in the fight. So in that sense, for Harry Reid to let the Senate be used for that, such a crass reason, given the amount of money that’s at stake, I thought that was kind of strange.”
The freshman Republican also cast some doubt on climate change science. Asked flatly by the moderator whether he “believes” it exists, DeSantis said, “It’s not a question of my belief, you know, when Al Gore speaks, as a member of Congress, I say ‘okay, Al, I’ll assume everything you say is gonna be true.”’ He couched that comment, however, saying that, “a lot of these predictions haven’t been proven to be true that have already been made that we can evaluate.”
Though climate deniers are an extremely tiny part of the scientific community, they make up a majority of congressional Republicans. Based on a ThinkProgress count, at least 56 percent of the members in the 113th Congress deny an issue with 97 percent scientific consensus. Coincidentally, they have together taken more than $55.5 million from the fossil fuel industry.
“The idea that we have the capacity to change or stop the climate, I’m just skeptical,” DeSantis said. “We can’t build shovel-ready projects half the time.” He didn’t mention the main reason why the U.S. is limited in what actions it can take, namely that any climate bill faces a dead end in the House of Representatives. ThinkProgress intern Mike Rivera contributed to this post.