Last week, Donald Trump’s transition team asked the Department of Energy for a list of staff and contractors who have worked on policies around climate change. The move was unusual and led to speculation that the Trump team was looking to purge the agency of people who accept the established science on climate change. Well, the Department of Energy is responding. And it more or less is telling Trump to go screw himself.
Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he doesn’t accept the scientific fact that humans are contributing to catastrophic changes in the world’s climate. In fact, he once said that climate change was a hoax invented by China. (China denies this.) So the Trump transition team’s list of 74 questions were naturally met with a bit of resistance at the DOE.
“I can’t recall that I’ve ever seen anything like this,” one employee of the DOE who’s worked at the agency for 20 years told the Washington Post. “I guess there is a first time for everything.”
Now the good folks at the Department of Energy are preparing documents for the Trump team, outlining in many ways why they can’t provide some of the information being requested. And the department most emphatically won’t be providing an individual list of names.
From an email to the Washington Post by Eben Burnham-Snyder, an Energy Department spokesperson (emphasis in the original):
The Department of Energy received significant feedback from our workforce throughout the department, including the National Labs, following the release of the transition team’s questions. Some of the questions asked left many in our workforce unsettled. Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of DOE (Department of Energy) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people. We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department.
We will be forthcoming with all publicly-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.
So that’s that. Or not. If there’s one thing that Donald Trump does not like, it’s meeting any kind of resistance. And telling Donald Trump that he can’t have something will inevitably play out like a scene with that shitty, spoiled kid from Willy Wonka. Trump’s going to get what he wants, even if it makes him sick.
Correction: This post originally misstated that the quote above was sent directly to the Trump transition team. It was sent to the Washington Post in response to questions about how DOE is responding to the Trump transition team.