donald trump
Many mental health professionals have flouted the Goldwater Rule, which states it's unethical to parse a public figure's mental state. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

After President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord last week, everyone made the same joke, nearly 60% of Americans disapproved and one senator pointed out that Trump's position on global warming had done a 180: In 2009, Trump and three of his children signed an open letter urging President Obama to act quickly on climate change.

 

The letter appeared as a full-page ad in the "New York Times" ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of 2009. It urged the president to invest in clean energy technology to create jobs, spur economic growth and "thrive in a global market and economy."

 

“If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet," the letter reads. "We urge you, our government, to strengthen and pass United States legislation, and lead the world by example. We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today."

 

"Please allow us, the United States of America, to serve in modeling the change necessary to protect humanity and our planet." 

 

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware) brought the letter to light last week. "Will President Trump heed his own advice?" he asked on Twitter.

 
 

Whoever's counsel Trump was following when he signed the letter in 2009, he didn't take it last week, pulling the United States out of the climate accord followed by 190 nations.

Since the letter's publication, Trump's position on climate change has broken away from convention like a drifting Antarctic ice shelf: In 2012, he expressed the view that global warming was a hoax created by the Chinese. In 2014, he tweeted "This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice." And in 2015, he said he was a climate change naysayer: "I believe in clean air. Immaculate air.... But I don't believe in climate change." Last year, he told the hosts of Fox & Friends that "climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax."

Over the past two weeks, White House press secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether any of the president's previous assessments are what he believes now.