Live: Trump Speaks to National Space Council Amid Immigration Policy Backlash

White House to Withdraw Nomination of Environmental Appointee Who Described Belief in Climate Change as ‘Paganism’

The White House plans to withdraw Kathleen Hartnett White’s nomination to head the Council on Environmental Quality, a White House official confirmed to CNN Saturday.

The Washington Post first reported the plan to drop the nomination.

CNN’s KFile reported Hartnett White, who would have overseen environmental and energy policies across the government, had described the belief in “global warming” as a “kind of paganism” for “secular elites” during a September 2016 interview on “The Right Perspective,” an online conservative radio show.

President Donald Trump listens while participating in a Customs and Border Protection roundtable discussion, Feb. 2, 2018, in Sterling, Virginia. (Credit: Andrew Harrer / Getty Images)

President Donald Trump listens while participating in a Customs and Border Protection roundtable discussion, Feb. 2, 2018, in Sterling, Virginia. (Credit: Andrew Harrer / Getty Images)

She has also said the goal of climate activists and the United Nations was an all-powerful, one-world government and “planetary management,” KFile reported.

President Donald Trump announced Hartnett White’s nomination in October and re-submitted her nomination to the Senate in January. Senators challenged her statements about climate change, which go against the scientific consensus that man-made greenhouse gases are the primary driver of rising temperatures, during her confirmation hearing in November.

When Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley pressed her on her past comments at the confirmation hearing, Hartnett White responded, “I believe those words, senator, with all due respect, have been taken out of context.”

“Well, they’re words directly from your writings,” Merkley responded.

Merkley noted that there are multiple quotes from White “calling environmentalists Marxist, and those who are concerned about climate change as pagans.”

“I think I submitted about 100 pages of either commentaries or research studies that I have done. In that entire corpus there may be some mistakes,” White said.

White did not immediately respond to questions from CNN at the time asking which quotes she believed were taken out of context.

White has a long history of questioning established science on climate change and once dismissed the idea that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and calling it “the gas of life on this planet” — comments that drew criticism from environmentalists who opposed her nomination.