Although President Donald Trump’s endless rounds of parading nonsense in front of cameras could prove distracting, issues like climate change remain as the United States heads to the next presidential election, which will take place next year. In coming weeks (on November 7 to be exact), the Weather Channel will be debuting a special program covering the topic that features interviews with nine presidential candidates from both major parties — but not Trump. The president “declined an invitation to participate,” according to the Associated Press. He was probably too busy tweeting.
It’s far from the first time that Trump has skipped an opportunity to address the growing threat of climate change. In late 2018, when asked about a report his own administration released outlining the threats to the country from climate change, he insisted simply:
‘I don’t believe it.’
More recently, after high-profile teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg spoke at the United Nations demanding more urgent action on climate change, Trump mockingly droned on Twitter:
‘She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!’
Those who will be featured in the upcoming Weather Channel special include all three Republicans who’ve launched long-shot bids against Trump’s re-election campaign, including former Congressman Joe Walsh and former Governors Bill Weld and Mark Sanford.
On the Democratic side, those making an appearance include most of the leaders in the still rather crowded Democratic presidential primary race, although only a few candidates consistently manage large levels of support. Those present on the Weather Channel will include Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker along with former Congressman Beto O’Rourke and South Bend, Indiana’s Mayor Pete Buttigieg. (Biden’s campaign says there was a scheduling conflict.) These interviews were conducted at sites illustrating the dangers of climate change — Sanders, for instance, speaks at the site of one of the many recent wildfires to rock California.
Although the Weather Channel has spotlighted climate change before, they have not dove into a political campaign like this. Channel exec Nora Zimmett is not concerned about potential backlash, however.
The Associated Press explains:
‘Zimmett said executives weren’t concerned about turning off weather fans who view it as a refuge from politics, or people like the president who see less urgency in addressing the issue. Despite a “vocal minority,” surveys show most viewers want to learn more about the issue and potential solutions, she said.’
There has been some criticism for networks not including more questions about climate change in the Democratic debates that have already happened. There’s also been criticism lobbed at the Democratic National Committee itself for ignoring calls for a climate forum for presidential candidates in favor of sticking to their strictly controlled debate stages. The since concluded presidential campaign of Washington Governor Jay Inslee made pushing for more attention to climate change a central concern.
For now, the Weather Channel is stepping in. Trump certainly seems to have no intention of doing so at any point in the near future, even as the world continues to struggle.