A day after the Democratic National Convention opened in Philadelphia with speeches about wages, jobs, civil rights, the environment, and immigration, Donald Trump and his top surrogates rushed to criticize the first day’s topic selection.
Trump tweeted “Why aren’t the Democrats speaking about ISIS, bad trade deals, broken borders, police and law and order. The Republican Convention was great.” Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN), also criticized the Democrats, saying “It is extraordinary to think that yesterday in Philadelphia 61 speakers came to the podium and not one of the named ISIS by name.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement: “The fact that we heard zero mentions of ISIS or terrorism from any of the speakers on the first night of the [Democratic convention] only confirms how far Democrats have their heads buried in the sand on national security issues.”
While Hillary Clinton did mention ISIS in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Republicans are correct that no Democratic speakers mentioned the terrorist organization at the first night of the DNC.
This criticism about national security is ironic, however, given the dearth of attention climate change, which the Pentagon has characterized as a immediate security threat, received at the Republican National Convention.
Some experts have linked climate change and Syria’s drought to the rise of ISIS. Military experts say climate change is a threat multiplier, meaning it makes existing threats even more dangerous. Additionally, as the American Security Project put it, climate change is a security threat because “Globally, how climate change interacts with society will determine the extent of security threats and the need for military involvement. Global threats include: migration, conflict over scarce resources, reduced food production, water insecurity, and others.”
Despite this evidence of the threat climate change poses, Trump did not mention climate change in his acceptance speech, instead offering an apocalyptic assessment of an America riddled with terrorism and crime. And the few times that climate change was mentioned at the RNC, it was used to mock Democrats for including a section about climate justice in their platform and to explicitly state in its platform that the GOP rejects “the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement,” two crucial deals meant to help deal with the issue of climate change, and that they embrace fossil fuels like coal as a “clean” energy source.
Other parts of the GOP platform include support for building the Keystone XL pipeline and more pipelines like it, getting rid of methane regulations, and banning the Environmental Protection Agency from placing restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions, all of which would lead down an environmentally destructive path.
Trump himself has claimed the science behind climate change is “bullshit.”
This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2014
And in 2012, he wrote on Twitter that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He later said he was making a joke, but for those already feeling its impacts, climate change is nothing to laugh at. Trump has repeatedly referred to climate change as a hoax, and has advocated for gutting the EPA and for more fossil fuel extraction with fewer rules.
His running mate, Mike Pence, once falsely said “The earth is actually cooler today than it was about 50 years ago,” an incorrect statement. He also referred to climate change science as “a theory” and in 2009 said that “the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming,” although he did add that he believed reducing emissions would be a good thing.
The Trump-Pence ticket has promised to “Make America safe again,” which according to their statements and policies does not include acknowledging the vast security threat posed by climate change, but does include criticizing the Democrats for not mentioning ISIS on day one of their convention.
Evan Popp is an intern at ThinkProgress.