Ken Isaacs, the Trump administration’s nominee to lead the United Nations migration agency, told reporters Friday that he believes in climate change and said a tweet questioning it was taken out of context.
However, a CNN KFile review of his tweets shows that Isaacs repeatedly and forcefully cast doubt on climate science in the past.
In a news conference at the United Nations Friday, Isaacs, when asked about climate denial in his tweets said, “The context that I made that – this is the last time I’m going to comment on the tweets, you know, y’all can ask me questions all day long, but I’ve done deep in-depth interviews on this. The context of the tweet was a conference that was held in Paris about climate change and terrorism. And I said this will be a joke at the dinner table of ISIS,” Isaacs said, adding that as head of the Samaritan’s Purse relief organization, he had responded to disasters caused by climate change.
Isaacs’ comments were in reference to one Facebook post uncovered by the Washington Post in which he referred to the connection between national security and climate change as “a joke.”
“The meeting in Paris next week is not going to be a rebuke to ISIS. It is going to be a dinner joke, a laughing stock, and a diversion of all the real issues,” Isaacs wrote.
“I don’t deny it,” Isaacs added Friday on climate change, explaining he met with representatives of South Pacific island countries concerned about rising sea levels.
But those comments are a direct contrast to sentiments he expressed in several tweets and retweets.
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment. Isaacs did not respond to a request for comment.
Isaacs retweeted a post calling climate change “a hoax” and an “idiotic superstition.” Isaacs himself called links between climate change and extreme weather “a crock” and raised doubts about scientists predicting rising temperatures.
Isaacs’ nomination to head the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration has been mired in controversy after reports from the Washington Post and CNN’s KFile on his anti-Muslim and climate-denying tweets. He also apologized for those tweets at Friday’s news conference.
In June, the IOM’s members will hold a vote on Isaacs’ appointment. He must receive support of two-thirds of its members to get elected. It has been a longstanding practice for members to elect the US-chosen candidate.
Here’s what Isaacs tweeted about climate change:
In August 2015, Isaacs shared an article that reported President Barack Obama’s climate change agenda as the most important issue on his agenda, along with the caption “[T]his should scare us all!”
In December 2016, Isaacs retweeted a post about air pollution in China and said that it was the issue people should care about, not climate change, and, “This foul air will kill millions before #climate ever changes.”
In February 2017, Isaacs shared a tweet from prominent climate change skeptic Steven Goddard and asked him whether the ignorance of experts could be applied to those who believe climate change is influenced by human activity.
In August 2017, Isaacs shared a tweet from Goddard that accused government scientists of lying about the extent to which global warming had melted the polar ice caps and sea ice.
Also in August 2017, Isaacs retweeted an account that said that climate change was “all a hoax” going back to the 1970s when some media outlets speculated about a coming ice age. The idea that there was widespread scientific belief in the 1970s about a new ice age is common among climate change skeptics, though in reality scientific concern over global cooling was limited.
In September 2017, Isaacs dismissed scientific concern over climate change because meteorologists weren’t able to accurately predict the path of storms, tweeting: “Scientists can’t predict a path of visible storm yet certain of manmade climate change”
Later in September 2017, Isaacs responded to a tweet from Democracy Now!, again criticizing scientists for failing to predict the path of hurricanes yet still raising alarms about climate change, saying: “A crock! Meteorologists can not even predict the path of a hurricane when they can see the thing and measure it. But scientist (sic) read climate?”
In September 2017, Isaacs shared a Goddard tweet again, which said that “Global warming is an idiotic superstition, and the people pushing it should be treated as the morons which they are.”