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EPA, Donald Trump and the media

Illustration by: Flor Barajas | Staff Illustrator

Donald Trump’s words of “America first” not only apply to other countries, but to the environment as well. His marginalization of a worldwide issue and his disconnect with the media contribute to America’s growing distrust in his administration. These issues can no longer be ignored and must be recognized by Trump and his administration.

Climate change has continued to be a frivolous subject to President Trump. Although extensive studies have been conducted to prove climate change exists, Trump’s cabinet pick for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency disagrees.

“That debate is far from settled,” wrote Trump’s EPA pick Scott Pruitt in the National Review. “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged—in classrooms, public forums and the halls of Congress.”

Pruitt’s doubts about climate change go further than just global warming. The former Oklahoma attorney general doubted the harmful effects of mercury in the environment and sued the EPA to exclude regulations. He also closed the environmental unit in his office when elected in 2010, and has ties to the oil industry. Through Trump’s nomination and the actions Pruitt has taken, it is clear that both men have no real concern for the environment.

This was further inflamed with the silencing of the EPA and other departments. The media reported that President Trump issued a “gag order” to halt all communication from the EPA and national park social media accounts, but some say it was a sensationalized headline produced out of fear.

“I don’t think it’s fair to call it a gag order,” a senior EPA official told The New York Times. “This is standard practice. And the move with regard to the grants, when a new administration comes in, you run things by them before you update the website.”

The overstated headline is almost justified when considering actions the president has taken so far, along with his hostile relationship with the media. The same actions were taken during the transition between Bush and Obama. However, the significant difference was that Obama was clear on his support to fight climate change.

Trump’s possible plans to move the White House press corps have created tension between the media and White House. The press corps is located in the West Wing of the White House—a place of accountability for past presidents by the media. The relocation of this iconic area would raise flags as to how transparent Trump’s administration will be.

With a press secretary who believes in “alternative facts” and Trump’s refusal to take questions from certain news organizations, it has become obvious that America cannot function this way.

There is real, rational fear concerning Trump and his administration. Whether the subject is climate change or gag orders, it will be imperative that the media and the president come to an understanding. What the American people need right now is transparency—not more sensational articles or “alternative facts.”

-John Lee is a marketing freshman