The Trump administration said Monday that it takes climate change seriously when considering the string of major hurricanes hitting the country, but determining cause is a bridge too far.
"I will tell you that we continue to take seriously the climate change, not the cause of it, but the things that we observe," White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert said Monday in briefing reporters on the government's response to Hurricane Irma.
"I think what's prudent for us, right now, is to make sure that those response capabilities are there, causality is something that is outside of my ability to analyze," he said, in answering a question about the influence of climate change on the severity of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The statement comes after Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told CNN Friday that it is misplaced to discuss climate change in relation to the storms when the focus should be on responding to the needs of those affected.
Pruitt said the country's focus should be on the immediate effects of the storms, not wading into a political debate over climate change.
"Here's the issue. 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. "All I'm saying to you is, to use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to the people in Florida."