Last week, the transition team of the US president-elect sent a survey to the Department of Energy asking for a list of staff members who have worked on climate change policies. This week the department told Trump, in essence, “nope.” Trump is now backing down.
“The questionnaire was not authorised or part of our standard protocol,” Sean Spicer, a spokesman for Trump, told Reuters. “The person who sent it has been properly counseled,” he added, somewhat ominously.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy told Reuters they were hopeful the walk-back meant a smooth transition going forward, which is perhaps a dangerous thing to hope for.
When news of the survey first broke, DOE spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder told the Washington Post that the agency would “not be providing any individual names to the transition team”. The survey’s very specific targeting was alarming to more than a few people, who worried it might be used to punish those working in climate change policy.
Trump usually doesn’t back down from his wild proclamations, but for whatever reason, this time he decided to. We’re sure Al Gore is thrilled.