Trump did a 180 on Harvey and Irma after he was asked about climate change

President Donald Trump on Thursday dismissed a link between climate change and the two hurricanes that recently pummeled the United States.

"We've had bigger storms than this," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One after being asked if hurricanes Harvey and Irma made him rethink his views on climate change.

"We did have two horrific storms, epic storms. But if you go back into the '30s and '40s, and you go back into the Teens, you'll see storms that were very similar and even bigger, OK?"

24 PHOTOS
President Trump and Melania visit Florida after Hurricane Irma
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President Trump and Melania visit Florida after Hurricane Irma
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump (L) board Air Force One for travel to view Hurricane Irma response efforts in Florida, from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for travel to view Hurricane Irma response efforts in Florida, from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One prior to receiving a briefing on Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence (L) receive a briefing with Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) on Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks between first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (2ndL) while receiving a briefing on Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump are greeted by Florida Governor Rick Scott (2ndR) and his wife Ann (C) as Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott (R) applauds during a briefing on Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump receives a briefing on Hurricane Irma relief efforts from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long (L) as the president arrives to tour storm damage with first lady Melania Trump (2nd R) and Vice President Mike Pence (R) in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump flies aboard the Marine One helicopter (L) as it is accompanied by a U.S. Marines tilt rotor "Osprey" helicopter (R) while touring storm damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Irma near Fort Myers, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump flies aboard the Marine One helicopter over storm damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Irma near Fort Myers, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Flooding caused by Hurricane Irma is seen from a U.S. Marine helicopter accompanying U.S. President Donald Trump as he flies over storm damage near Fort Myers, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump flies aboard the Marine One helicopter over flooding caused by Hurricane Irma as he tours storm damage near Fort Myers, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (2ndL) is accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence (C) and Florida Governor Rick Scott (2ndR) while meeting with people impacted by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump (L) are accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (R) while meeting with people impacted by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) meets with people impacted by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) holds up a sandwich while meeting with people impacted by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump pretends to take a bite out of a sandwich while distributing food with first lady Melania Trump (2ndR) to people impacted by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a banana while distributing food with first lady Melania Trump (2ndR) to people impacted by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump prepare to distribute food to people impacted by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump talks with people impacted by Hurricane Irma carrying their dogs while distributing food in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) shoots a picture of President Donald Trump as he speaks to the line while pulling on gloves with first lady Melania Trump (R) to distribute food to people impacted by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump pats a man on the back while distributing food with Vice President Mike Pence (C) to people impacted by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump (R) board Air Force One after meeting with people impacted by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump (C), US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and First Lady Melania Trump pose for a selfie as they help serve food to people affected by Hurricane Irma, in Naples, Florida, on September 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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The comments represent a remarkable shift in tone for Trump, who in the lead-up to the two storms posted several tweets seeming to marvel at their historic size.

"Hurricane Irma is of epic proportion, perhaps bigger than we have ever seen," Trump said on Twitter last week. "Hurricane looks like largest ever recorded in the Atlantic!" he said in another tweet.

Trump was equally reverent of Hurricane Harvey:

"Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen," he tweeted in late August. "Wow - Now experts are calling #Harvey a once in 500 year flood!" he added later.

In other tweets, Trump noted Harvey's "record setting" rainfall and "unprecedented" flooding.

The two hurricanes did indeed set records — Harvey dumped a record 51.9 inches of rain in one area of Texas, while Irma set records for both size and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes. Their landfall marked the first time two storms of Category-4 strength struck the US in the same year. Together, the storms claimed more than a hundred lives and caused hundreds of billions of dollars of damage.

Trump has long expressed skepticism about climate change and has called it a Chinese hoax.

His administration has largely followed his lead: The White House has scrubbed nearly all references to climate change from its website, as have various other government agencies.

Meanwhile, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, told the Miami Herald on Monday that it was "insensitive" to discuss climate change in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

13 PHOTOS
Aerial photos of Irma's damage in the Florida Keys
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Aerial photos of Irma's damage in the Florida Keys
A destroyed marina is pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A sunken boat is pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A destroyed trailer park is pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A bridge with boats washed up under it are pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Boats are pictured washed ashore in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathoni, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A destroyed trailer park is pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A destroyed marina is pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A destroyed trailer park is pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A destroyed marina is pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A destroyed marina is pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Boats lined up in a canal for protection are pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A destroyed trailer park is pictured in an aerial photo in the Keys in Marathon, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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“To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced," Pruitt said. "To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida."

Environmental scientists overwhelmingly agree that climate change contributes to heightened storm surge and flooding during hurricanes, and that human-caused global warming leads to more frequent extreme-weather events

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SEE ALSO: Trump can't stop marveling at the size of Hurricane Harvey on Twitter

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