A top climate adviser to President Biden skirted questions Monday over former Vice President Al Gore’s claim that political opponents on climate issues are like the law enforcement officials who failed to stop the mass shooter in Uvalde, Texas.
Deputy White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi twice deflected questions posed by CNN’s Kate Bolduan about whether Mr. Gore’s comments were appropriate or representative of the Biden White House’s position.
“The vice president drew some comparisons. He also pointed to the fact that we have solutions to take on the climate crisis,” Mr. Zaidi said. “We’re focused on the solution, focused on advancing the opportunity here and meeting the moment. We don’t have time to spare. We’ve got to move forward.”
Mr. Gore had told NBC News that “climate deniers are really in some ways similar to all of those almost 400 law enforcement officers in Uvalde, Texas, who were waiting outside an unlocked door while the children were being massacred.”
Mr. Gore went on to say in a “Meet the Press” interview that was released over the weekend that the cops in Uvalde “heard the screams, they heard the gunshots and nobody stepped forward.”
Critics have condemned Mr. Gore’s comparing public debate and dissent to the mass shooting that left 19 elementary students and two teachers dead as inappropriate and insensitive.
“God bless those families that suffered so much,” Mr. Gore said in the “Meet the Press” interview. “And law enforcement officials tell us that’s not typical of what law enforcement usually does.”
Mr. Zaidi also defended the White House’s recent actions on climate change, despite Democrats’ and environmentalists’ disappointment with Mr. Biden’s decision not to declare an official climate emergency to unlock additional executive powers in the wake of climate-related setbacks.
The Supreme Court last month reined in the Environmental Protection Agency’s bid to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants as a claim of authority that Congress hadn’t granted the agency.
Earlier this month, Democratic talks to include new spending on climate action in a party-line bill broke down over inflation concerns by Sen. Joe Manchin.
The centrist West Virginia Democrat is key in a split 50-50 Senate to pass legislation on party lines through a process known as reconciliation.
Mr. Zaidi indirectly batted down criticism that the president has failed to go far enough to address a warming planet.
“The president’s putting sirens on. There are authorities that he is looking at right now, and he has said, more coming soon,” the Biden climate adviser said. “We are we have been cruising from day one, but it’s time to go faster and faster, put the sirens on and meet this moment.”