Many news outlets report that Catholics are “clearly jazzed” about the Pope’s visit and recent polling from Pew Research Center finds that nine in 10 U.S. Catholics have a favorable view of him. He’s even popular among other religious groups and even atheists. But not everyone is thrilled about Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. While many eagerly await his address to the UN General Assembly in New York and his speech in front of Congress, some are less than enthused with the holy leader. When asked at a rally last night if he plans to meet with the Pope when he visits, Donald Trump had this to say: “Well, the Pope believes in global warming, you do know that.”
The Pope vs The Donald—during his US visit Francis will tout #immigration and call for compassion toward #migrants http://t.co/AI1jWvLhp8
— Social Justice (@SocialJusticeTr) September 12, 2015
It’s no surprise that the Donald isn’t ecstatic about the pontiff’s first-ever visit to the U.S. Last month, the real-estate-mogul-turned-presidential-candidate told CNN he would “scare the Pope” in response to his critique of the free market by telling him “ISIS wants to get you.” Trump has been a vocal climate denier for years, calling global warming a “hoax” and a concept “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
When asked about his views on climate change yesterday by MSNBC, Trump said, “I consider climate change to be not one of our big problems. I consider it to be not a big problem at all. I think it’s weather. I think it’s weather changes. It could be some man-made something, but you know, if you look at China, they’re doing nothing about it. Other countries, they’re doing nothing about it. It’s a big planet.”
His statement echoes the remarks of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who all reluctantly addressed the issue at the second GOP presidential primary debate on Wednesday night.
“We’re not going to destroy our economy the way the left-wing government we’re under wants us to do,” said Rubio. And Christie added, “We shouldn’t be destroying our economy in order to chase some wild left-wing idea that somehow, us, by ourselves are going to fix the climate.” Walker chimed in that the Obama administration’s policies aimed at addressing carbon pollution would kill manufacturing jobs in his state and elsewhere in the U.S.
And the GOP presidential candidates aren’t alone. Ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia, the Independence Hall Foundation and conservative think tank The Heartland Institute hosted a Constitution Day press conference yesterday challenging the Pope’s views on “global warming and the nature of capitalism.”
The Independence Hall Foundation is a nonprofit that seeks to “promote the values embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.” In 2012, The Economist called The Heartland Institute “the world’s most prominent think tank supporting skepticism about man-made climate change.”