Known bookworm Donald Trump would like you to know he has a book. That book is about Donald Trump, known environmental champion. It’s written and self-published by known Trump lover and advisor Edward Russo.
And that, my friends, is the circle of life.
On Thursday, Trump announced revisions to one of the most consequential environmental laws in U.S. history known as the National Environmental Policy Act. The changes would essentially gut parts of the act, making it so regulators can’t consider the climate impacts of oil, gas, and other harmful projects and ensuring some projects are exempt from environmental review altogether, all while reducing the time for public input on projects. The whole rollback could result in harm to communities near major infrastructure projects as well as the global climate.
During the proceedings, Trump was asked if he still thinks climate change is a hoax. Two years ago, this very publication said we should stop asking about or analysing Trump’s climate beliefs. They’re a miasma of half baked thoughts, Fox News talking points, and some really weird shit about windmills. His answer was predictably bad per a pool report:
“Nothing’s a hoax about that. It’s a very serious subject. I’m a big believer in that word, the environment”
To really show his granola bonafides, Trump also said he would be reading a book about an environmentalist for inspiration, that he even had it in the “other office.” That environmentalist in question is none other than Trump himself, and the only book in that vein appears to be Donald J. Trump: An Environmental Hero.
Trump at presser: 'Somebody wrote a book that I'm an environmentalist. It actually called me 'The Environmentalist,' actually, before I did this. But they wrote a book. I'd like to get it. I have it in the other office. I'll bring it to my next news conference, perhaps'
— Timothy Cama (@Timothy_Cama) January 9, 2020
The book was self-published by Edward Russo who was among other things, an environmental advisor for the Trump Organisation and as of last year, he said he was still an “informal advisor” to Trump according to an E&E News profile.
The Miami Herald recounts one portion of the book where Russo says Trump wanted to reduce the height of some mangroves at a Miami golf course he wanted to buy. Mangroves are great for slowing storm surge and sequestering carbon. Cutting them down? Not so much. And it’s certainly not something an environmental hero would do! But according to Russo, we’re looking at it all wrong.
“An environmental hero would look at those mangroves and improve their quality,” Russo told the Herald. “And improve the quality of life in and around there right now.”
In the E&E profile, Russo also explained away Trump’s climate denial with the chestnut the “climate is always changing” and that Trump is just saying “global warming is distracting a lot of people.” Sure is bud. Right.
Mother Jones reporter Rebecca Leber tweeted that she interviewed Russo in 2017 and didn’t write a story because “he made so many unsubstantiated claims that I was worried the attention would just give it more oxygen.”
Meanwhile, in the real world, Donald Trump has rolled back environmental laws around endangered species protections, methane emissions, coal plants, cars, light bulbs, public lands, oil and gas drilling, international policy, and waterways in addition to Thursday’s latest rollback. But hey, I’m sure he’ll learn something if he picks up that book. Which I’m sure he’ll do any day now.