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The chairman of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHeller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 MORE’s presidential campaign sought to rally green activists on Wednesday for a general election fight against Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE, saying the stakes for the environment are higher than ever before.
“It’s trite to say it now, but it’s true this year,” John Podesta said at a League of Conservation Voters (LCV) event on Wednesday night. “And nothing could be more true than on the question of climate change.”
Casting the election as a choice between a climate denier in Trump and a Democrat with a progressive streak on climate change, Podesta said the United States risks instituting “a national policy of climate denial” if Trump wins the White House in November.
Podesta mocked Trump’s contention that climate change is a “Chinese hoax.”
“Donald Trump is a serious candidate for president but he is not a serious man. The scientific illiteracy is just part of that,” Podesta said, knocking Trump, as Clinton has done, for his temperament and his conduct over the course of the presidential campaign.
“We have to make sure climate denial does not find a home in the White House,” he said, thanking LCV members “in advance for the five months of hard work to make sure that [Clinton] is elected the first woman president.”
Clinton has campaigned with a laser focus on Trump since he became the presumptive Republican nominee last month, while at the same time closing out a protracted Democratic nomination fight against Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Manchin: Biden told moderates to pitch price tag for reconciliation bill Biden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions MORE.
Podesta spoke on Wednesday night, the day after Clinton claimed the Democratic presidential nomination, to the LCV’s annual Capital Dinner, rallying attendees to her cause in the general election.
“Yesterday was a very big day for our country and for our planet,” he said. “Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee for president.”
LCV’s political arm handed Clinton her first green group endorsement of the cycle in November, calling her “without a doubt the most effective leader to stand up to Big Polluters and push forward an aggressive plan to tackle climate change and get it done.”
Clinton and Sanders had fought for environmental group endorsements over the course of the campaign: Beyond LCV, the NRDC Action Fund endorsed Clinton, while Friends of the Earth backed Sanders.
Many liberal environmentalists dismissed Clinton’s position on several key climate issues, including hydraulic fracturing; Clinton wants to regulate it, while Sanders wants to ban it. He also endorsed a movement to stop fossil fuel development on federal lands, while Clinton has said that’s impractical right now.
Despite the divisions within the Democrats’ sizable subset of environmentally inclined voters, Podesta said there far more differences between the Democrats and Trump.
“In the Democratic primaries, we had two great candidates, two climate warriors who didn’t so much disagree on the urgency and the scope and the ambition of tackling the climate problem, but on the details and the best programs to make progress,” he said. “The other party, the Republican Party, is going to nominate a guy who calls climate change a Chinese hoax. That would almost be funny if it were’t so deadly serious.”
—This post was updated at 10:06 a.m.