Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pushed back on President Donald Trump's downplaying of the dangers of climate change in the wake of a government report that warns of its devastating potential impacts.
"The scientists have told us -- despite Trump's absurd thought that this is a hoax -- that the future of the planet is at stake," Sanders said in an interview with CNN's John Berman that aired Tuesday on "New Day," adding that climate change is "not a debatable issue to my mind."
The US climate change report released last week warns of thousands of deaths, more dire flooding and wildfires and a loss in hundreds of billions of dollars to the economy from climate changes.
The Vermont senator, who has been critical of the President, suggested that the Trump administration "reluctantly released" the report the Friday after Thanksgiving.
He suggested a call to action from the American people in response to the report.
"The American people have got to stand up and say, for the sake of their children and their grandchildren, 'We are going to have to take on the greed of the fossil fuel industry, who consider their short-term profits more important than the kind of lives my grandchildren will have,'" Sanders said.
He also argued that he has "to convince the American people to tell Republicans" that climate change is a serious issue and international crisis.
Sanders, an independent senator who caucuses with Democrats, ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, losing the primary battle to Hillary Clinton.
Now with speculation that Sanders might mount a 2020 campaign, Berman asked the senator if he knows the answer as to whether he'll run.
"As of this moment, no," Sanders told CNN. "Running for president is not a simple decision."
Sanders said he has to be sure that the issues he feels strongly about, citing wealth inequality and the shrinking middle class, are "resonating with the American people."
"I'm not quite sure. I think they do. We got a little bit more work to do," he said.
Sanders also took a swing at Trump, calling the President a "total phony and political opportunist."
"He moves with the wind, and right now he's an extreme right-winger, because he thinks that's how you get votes," Sanders said.
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