Trump: I was joking when I said the Chinese 'created' the concept of climate change

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Sanders Targets Trump, GOP Over Climate Change

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Monday morning that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) had misfired an attack against him at the Democratic debate the night before.

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During the debate, Sanders said he couldn't imagine electing a president who believed that climate change is "a hoax invented by the Chinese." Sanders specifically cited Trump to make his point.

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That was an apparent reference to a 2012 tweet by Trump, in which the real-estate mogul wrote, "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive."

Trump was asked about Sanders' attack the next day during a "Fox & Friends" interview. He said his accusation against the Chinese was an obvious joke.

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Trump: I was joking when I said the Chinese 'created' the concept of climate change
Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (R) arrive on stage for the NBC News -YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate on January 17, 2016 at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley , left, Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, stand together before the start of the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley greets members of the audience following the NBC News -YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate on January 17, 2016 at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participates in the Democratic Candidates Debate hosted by NBC News and YouTube on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gestures towards Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton during the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, participates in the Democratic presidential candidate debate in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. Hours before Sunday's Democratic debate, the two top Democratic contenders held a warm-up bout of sorts in multiple separate appearances on political talk shows, at a time when the polling gap between the pair has narrowed in early-voting states. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton participates in the Democratic Candidates Debate hosted by NBC News and YouTube on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participates in the Democratic Candidates Debate hosted by NBC News and YouTube on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: Democratic presidential candidates Martin OMalley (L), Hillary Clinton (C) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participate in the Democratic Candidates Debate hosted by NBC News and YouTube on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton participates in the Democratic Candidates Debate hosted by NBC News and YouTube on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley arrives on stage for the NBC News -YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate on January 17, 2016 at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (L) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participate in the Democratic Candidates Debate hosted by NBC News and YouTube on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (L) and Bernie Sanders (R) confer during the NBC News -YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate on January 17, 2016 at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley (L) chats with moderators Lester Holt (C) and Andrea Mitchell during a break at the Democratic Candidates Debate hosted by NBC News and YouTube on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (L) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participate in the Democratic Candidates Debate hosted by NBC News and YouTube on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidates, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley (L), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C), and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (R) arrive on stage for the NBC News -YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate on January 17, 2016 at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders steps away from the stage during a short break in NBC News -YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate on January 17, 2016 at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina.. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: Lester Holt (L) and Andrea Mitchell moderate the Democratic Candidates Debate hosted by NBC News and YouTube on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) rally outside the Gaillard Center before the start of the NBC News Democratic Candidates Debate on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A supporter waits outside the debate site to see Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton before the start of the NBC News -YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate on Sunday, January 17 at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
A group of signs for Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton before the start of the NBC News -YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate on January 17 at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, cheer before the Democratic presidential candidate debate in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. Hours before Sundays Democratic debate, the two top Democratic contenders held a warm-up bout of sorts in multiple separate appearances on political talk shows, at a time when the polling gap between the pair has narrowed in early-voting states. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: The stage at the Gaillard Center is prepared for tonight's Democratic debate on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley spent yesterday campaigning in South Carolina in lead up to tonight's debate. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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"I think that climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change," Trump said. "I've received many environmental awards. And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China — obviously I joke — but this done for the benefit of China."

He added: "Because China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you can burn. They couldn't care less. Their standards are nothing. But in the meantime, they can undercut us on price. So it's very hard on our business."

Trump has for years used words like "hoax," "canard," "mythical," "con job," "nonexistent," and "bulls---" to reject mainstream climate science:





































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