Former Vice President Al Gore was scheduled to meet with Ivanka Trump on Monday at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Gore said in an interview with The Guardian this weekend that he saw an opportunity to persuade Donald Trump on issues surrounding climate change. He said that environmentalists couldn’t afford to spend the next four years whining about the outcome of the election.
“My message would be that despair is just another form of denial. There is no time to despair. We don’t have time to lick our wounds, to hope for a different election outcome,” Gore said. “We have to win this struggle and we will win it; the only question is how fast we win. But more damaged is baked into the climate system every day, so it’s a race against time.”
Supposedly, Trump’s eldest daughter is planning to make climate change her “signature issue,” even as there is uncertainty about the family’s role in the new administration. Trump has indicated that Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric will run the real estate empire in his absence, but it remains to be seen how they will balance that responsibility with their informal advisory roles. The potential for a conflict of interest, as every Trump critic will tell you, is extraordinary.
As for climate change, Trump made his position clear in the campaign. He promised to get the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, shred Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and restore jobs to coal country. And while he acknowledged in an interview with The New York Times that there might be “some connectivity” between human activity and global warming, it would come as a shock to most of his supporters if he started down the “Inconvenient Truth” path as president.
No one who watched Ivanka on the campaign trail can deny her loyalty to her father, but she never supported his policies with the enthusiasm of her brothers. At times, listening to her talk about child care and women’s health, it was easy to forget which candidate she was supporting. Judging by her and her husband’s associations prior to the campaign, it’s not a stretch to question whether or not she’s a closet liberal.
Which, as far as it goes, is okay. If she wants to use her public platform to chat about climate change, that’s her right. But if she starts guiding her father’s policies to the left, Trump would do well to remember that the American people voted for him…not her.