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Agriculture secretary on climate change: 'I think it's weather patterns'

Agriculture secretary on climate change: 'I think it's weather patterns'
© Greg Nash

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny PerdueSonny PerdueThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Georgia election day is finally here; Trump hopes Pence 'comes through for us' to overturn results Civil war between MAGA, GOP establishment could hand Dems total control Trump administration races to finish environmental rules, actions MORE downplayed concerns about climate change during an interview with CNN released Tuesday, referring to its effects as “weather patterns.”

“You know, I think it's weather patterns, frankly. And you know, and they change, as I said. It rained yesterday, it's a nice pretty day today. So the climate does change in short increments and in long increments," Perdue said.

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The interview followed a Politico report that Perdue's department has refused to publicize government-funded research indicating increasing threats due to climate change.

"I read that story and I can find no evidence at all from anything I said or anything having to do with climate change," Perdue told CNN, adding that he “absolutely” wants such research made public and that he meets with climate scientists “on an ongoing basis.”

Perdue also said he has not discussed climate change with President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE, who has repeatedly cast doubt on the issue despite the scientific consensus. Trump once called it a “hoax created by the Chinese” and told Piers Morgan, “I believe there is a change in weather and I think it changes both ways.”

"I think the president feels that I do, he's a golfer, so sometimes he knows he gets rained out and sometimes it doesn't, but the long-term consequences, I don't know," Perdue told CNN.

Vice President Pence repeatedly demurred during an appearance last Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" on whether he considers climate change a threat. Pence responded in part by saying the U.S. “has the cleanest air and water in the world," which host Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperOfficials brace for second Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Capital locked down ahead of Biden's inauguration Durbin says he won't whip votes for Trump's second impeachment trial MORE noted was inaccurate.