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 PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin Perdue5 Republicans who could replace Isakson in Georgia's Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks Democrats see golden opportunity to take Georgia Senate seat 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 John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat 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 TapperO'Rourke responds to Buttigieg's gun criticism: 'That calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place' O'Rourke's debate moment reignites gun debate on Sunday shows Cicilline: O'Rourke's AR-15 comment 'doesn't help' MORE noted was inaccurate.