Al Roker Frets to Obama That Ukraine Is Distracting From Climate Agenda


By: - Climate DepotApril 15, 2022 7:44 PM

https://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/kyle-drennen/2022/04/13/roker-frets-obama-ukraine-distracting-climate-agenda

By Kyle Drennen

During an interview with former President Obama conducted on Monday and aired on NBC’s Today show Wednesday morning, weatherman and climate activist Al Roker actually worried that the brutal war in Ukraine was distracting from pushing a left-wing environmental agenda. Obama replied by trying to use the conflict as an excuse “to wean ourselves off fossil fuels.”

“Then, a walk in the park. Al goes one on one with President Obama, talking about his new series on the importance of America’s national parks,” co-host Savannah Guthrie eagerly teased at the top of the 8:00 a.m. ET hour, perfectly summing up the softball exchange. Minutes later, fellow co-host Hoda Kotb similarly swooned: “We are back with Today Climate and Al’s exclusive interview with former President Barack Obama. During his eight years in the White House, the 44th president built a legacy of protecting our planet.”

In a portion of the exchange only shown on NBC’s Today All Day streaming channel, Roker fretted: “…climate is one of those things that gets pushed down when things happen. For example, now we’ve got Ukraine and there’s talk about, ‘Let’s ramp up production of fossil fuels because, you know, inflation, higher gas prices.’ Do you worry that that’s gonna push back the initiative?”

Obama desperately tried to connect the two issues:

Well, interestingly, when we see what’s happened with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it argues for us redoubling our efforts to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. Russia is emboldened and empowered in part because they think we have to buy their oil and gas….we now have to think about how do we revamp our energy so that we are no longer dependent on these fossil fuels. It’s not just that it is contributing to the heating of our planet, it’s also that it ends up empowering folks that we don’t want empowered.

Roker went on to ask a couple more questions about Ukraine that were more substantive, including whether Obama would have “done something differently” when Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on his watch in 2014.

Later in the exchange aired on Today, Roker lectured: “In fact, we have younger kids, Sasha and Malia, the generation that demands us being better caretakers.” Obama agreed: “I think that the generation of our kids are more mindful of how we haven’t always taken care of the planet. And with climate change affecting everything, they are demanding action.”

During a portion of the friendly chat aired on the 3rd Hour Today show, in the 9:00 a.m. ET hour, Roker was shown wondering: “During your presidency, you protected more public lands, more waterways, than any previous administration. Now that you are a private citizen, is climate change and the environment one of your top priorities?” Obama declared: “I think it has to be one of the top priorities for all of us.”

The purpose of the interview wasn’t just to push the left’s radical climate agenda, it was also promote Obama’s latest project, as Roker explained: “Now, his new Netflix series, Our Great National Parks, showcases some of the world’s most spectacular settings….The former president serving as both executive producer and narrator.”

In fact, the entire exchange took place in Virginia’s Great Falls National Park, just outside Washington, D.C.

Beyond topics like climate change and the war in Ukraine, during a clip played on Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, Roker briefly tossed out a softball about the upcoming midterm elections, in which Democrats are widely expected to suffer significant losses: “What do you think’s gonna happen in this midterm election?” Obama offered this laughable response:

Well, it’s too early to say. I think the Biden administration has overcome some extraordinary circumstances. COVID, the economy, and now most recently, Ukraine. And they have handled the policy right. But look, understandably, people feel exhausted by COVID. That’s gonna dampen the mood of a country. Inflation is a real issue. A lot of it is having to do with COVID and supply chains. And now, Putin’s gas tax, essentially, by virtue of his invasion of Ukraine. But the underlying economy, there’s a good story to tell. Democrats have to go out there and tell the story. But ultimately, the voters decide on this thing.

Earlier in the program, the evening newscast actually did a good job of completely dismantling that kind of excuse-making coming from the Biden White House.

Roker’s predictably softball exchange with Obama was brought to viewers by IHOP and Citi. You can fight back by letting these advertisers know what you think of them sponsoring such content.

Here is a transcript of excerpts from the interview aired on April 13:

Today
8:00 AM ET TEASE

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Then, a walk in the park. Al goes one on one with President Obama, talking about his new series on the importance of America’s national parks and sharing his passion with a group of young explorers.

BARACK OBAMA: We’re going to learn something not just about how to maintain national parks but why it’s so important to deal with issues like climate change that threaten the entire planet.

(…)

8:11 AM ET SEGMENT

HODA KOTB: We are back with Today Climate and Al’s exclusive interview with former President Barack Obama. During his eight years in the White House, the 44th president built a legacy of protecting our planet.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, now he’s out with a new Netflix series showcasing iconic national parks, it’s also a call to action to preserve them for generations to come.

(…)

8:12 AM ET

AL ROKER: Now, his new Netflix series, Our Great National Parks, showcases some of the world’s most spectacular settings.

BARACK OBAMA: This is a journey through the natural wonders of our shared birthright.

ROKER: The former president serving as both executive producer and narrator.

OBAMA: There’s nowhere else you’ll see a hippo in the Atlantic Ocean.

ROKER: The series not just a feast for eyes, but a lesson on the importance of protecting the parks and their wild residents.

OBAMA: I’m hoping that we’re going to learn something not just about how to maintain national parks but why it’s so important to deal with issues that – like climate change – that threaten the entire planet.

ROKER: In fact, we have younger kids, Sasha and Malia, the generation that demands us being better caretakers. Will people seeing this heed that call?

OBAMA: I think that the generation of our kids are more mindful of how we haven’t always taken care of the planet. And with climate change affecting everything, they are demanding action. Nature is more resilient than we think if we are intentional about it.

ROKER: In addition to spending his time out in nature, former President Obama’s been navigating the political terrain, returning to the White House for the very first time just last week.

How did that feel?

OBAMA: Well, you know, it was wonderful to see some of the old team. The fact that I could leave though was nice. [Laughter]

Vice President Biden, Vice President – [Laughter]

ROKER: When you made the “Vice President Biden” joke, were you a little surprised by people who were like, “Hey, what’s up with that”?

OBAMA: No, you know, look, President Biden and I have an extraordinary friendship as well as a professional relationship.

(…)

8:14 AM ET

ROKER: Post-presidency, how has life changed for you, Michelle, Sasha, and Malia?

OBAMA: There’s nothing that compares to the privilege and honor of serving the American people in the highest office in the land. You know, there are times where I miss the work. I don’t miss the hoopla though. And, you know, we’re finding that we can be really productive, contributing citizens in all kinds of other ways.

(…)

3rd Hour Today
9:16 AM ET

(…)

AL ROKER: During your presidency, you protected more public lands, more waterways, than any previous administration. Now that you are a private citizen, is climate change and the environment one of your top priorities?

BARACK OBAMA: I think it has to be one of the top priorities for all of us. I don’t want to leave that kind of legacy for my kids and my grand kids. And I don’t think any of us do. And that means that we’ve got to get to work.

(…)

Today All Day
12:05 PM ET

(…)

AL ROKER: Speaking of being interconnected, I mean, we – climate is one of those things that gets pushed down when things happen. For example, now we’ve got Ukraine and there’s talk about, “Let’s ramp up production of fossil fuels because, you know, inflation, higher gas prices.” Do you worry that that’s gonna push back the initiative?

BARACK OBAMA: Well, interestingly, when we see what’s happened with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it argues for us redoubling our efforts to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. Russia is emboldened and empowered in part because they think we have to buy their oil and gas. And one of the things I’ve been very encouraged by – because it’s not easy to do – is the Biden administration’s ability to mobilize Europe, countries like Asia and Korea [sic], to say not only that we’re gonna sanction Russia for this vicious and unjustified invasion of an independent country, but also that we now have to think about how do we revamp our energy so that we are no longer dependent on these fossil fuels. It’s not just that it is contributing to the heating of our planet, it’s also that it ends up empowering folks that we don’t want empowered.

(…)