Deb Haaland, Interior pick, backs down on ‘Republicans don’t believe in science’ tweet at hearing

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Interior nominee Rep. Deb Haaland’s previous Twitter blast accusing Republicans of not believing in science came back to haunt her at Tuesday’s confirmation hearing.

Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, noted that he and two other GOP members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee — Sens. Bill Cassidy and Roger Marshall — are medical doctors, then cited her Oct. 7 tweet saying that “Republicans don’t believe in science,” complete with handclaps.

“Just a couple of months ago, you tweeted, ‘Republicans don’t believe in science.’ Pretty broad statement that you made there,” said Mr. Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon. “This was in October of 2020, so not too long ago. We’re also Republicans. Do you think that as medical doctors we don’t believe in science? How do you stand by this statement?”

The New Mexico Democrat appeared to be caught off guard, replying, “Senator, I, I, yes, if you’re a doctor, I would assume that you believe in science.”

Mr. Barrasso, the committee’s ranking member, retorted: “But we’re Republicans as well.”

That wasn’t the only instance in which she disparaged the scientific acumen of Republicans. In a Sept. 7 tweet, Ms. Haaland praised White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci and declared that “Meanwhile, Republicans deny science and deny facts.”

“It’s concerning to those of us who have gone through training, believe in science, and yet with a broad brush, we’re all disbelievers,” Mr. Barrasso said. “It’s a concern to those of us as we’re here today to ask questions.”

Ms. Haaland would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history if confirmed as Interior secretary.

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