Just hours before taking the stage at a closed-door meeting at the White House, Carlton Waterhouse was called a racist.
The agency’s climate czar was part of a group of officials who met with President Donald Trump about environmental policy.
During their meeting, the group was asked to estimate how many Americans would lose their jobs if President Trump’s plans to scrap the Clean Power Plan are successful. There’s been a slew of Trump administration actions like that that have decimated the nation’s social safety net and given millions of jobs to industries.
“Uh, of the 200,000 jobs that will be lost, of the 200,000 jobs lost in those areas, can I get the area?” asked EPA staff member Sam van Oss.
“A few seats over the way,” Waterhouse corrected him.
“I’d like to see water management at least retained and make sure those people still have some water management,” he said, as Van Oss went on.
To an audience member who said he used to work for the EPA, and asks a question, Van Oss says he answers it “privately” because “you may have heard some of the things I have to say about you.”
“No. I got to tell you,” he said. “I’m privileged. I got to tell you that, but I can’t tell it because of my position.”
That questioner, who later agreed to allow CNN to identify him, was unequivocal in his praise for Trump.
“Mr. President, you understand this people, and you are doing it and you’re going to do what needs to be done, and it’s not going to be here anymore,” he said.
Later in the meeting, Waterhouse got another tough question from a woman who said she used to work for the EPA.