Climate hawks defend WMD remark

Two Democratic lawmakers are defending Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryFor the sake of national security, Trump must honor the Iran deal Bernie Sanders’s 1960s worldview makes bad foreign policy DiCaprio: History will ‘vilify’ Trump for not fighting climate change MORE's remark likening climate change to a weapon of mass destruction.

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDem senator: 'How many lives must be lost before we act?' Sen. Manchin won’t vote for Trump’s mine safety nominee Overnight Regulation: SEC chief grilled over hack | Dems urge Labor chief to keep Obama overtime rule | Russia threatens Facebook over data storage law MORE (R.I.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.) said Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts The VA's woes cannot be pinned on any singular administration Overnight Defense: Mattis offers support for Iran deal | McCain blocks nominees over Afghanistan strategy | Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy MORE (R-Ariz.) and former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) were wrong to criticize Kerry's speech on the consequences of climate change.

"Secretary Kerry needs allies in this fight for the future of our planet," the Democrats wrote in a letter to McCain and Gingrich. "History will not look back and fault him for leading the charge to prevent the worst impacts of climate change while we still have time."

"But history may question why Republican leaders who were once their party's champions on climate change fled the field at a crucial moment," they add.

Following Kerry's remarks in Indonesia over the weekend, Gingrich took to Twitter and airwaves to call Kerry "delusional" and "dangerous to our safety."

McCain also faulted Kerry for comparing climate change to terrorism, poverty and epidemics, asking "on what planet does his reside?"

Kerry's speech took a harder line on climate change than the Obama administration has before, signaling a shift in strategy. He plans to put the issue front and center during all U.S. diplomatic efforts.

The letter from Whitehouse and Waxman included a list of national security experts who have made similar comments to Kerry's about climate change.