The United States is going through a “challenging time” under President Donald Trump, and the upcoming months will be a “test to the American people,” former Vice President Al Gore said Monday.
“We’ve never had a president who has deliberately made decisions, the effect of which is to tear down America’s standing in the world,” Gore said during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show.
Trump’s decision in June to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement was serious, said Gore, as “the climate crisis by far is the most serious challenge we face.”
“He’s also undermined our alliances, such as NATO,” said the former vice president. “He’s hurt our standing in the world in many ways. The months ahead will be a test for the American people. We’ve got to get through this.”
Gore has spoken with Trump several times about the dangers of climate change, including during a telephone call in May, and has been in contact with Trump several other times, including during a meeting in December before the president was sworn in.
On Monday, he would not reveal details of his conversations to the president to NBC’s Willie Geist.
“I’ve respected the privacy of the conversations I’ve had with the president,” Gore told Geist. “He was certainly attentive. They were pleasant exchanges. I had hoped he’d come to his sense on the Paris agreement, but I was wrong.”
Gore said he has not spoken with Trump since he pulled the United States out of the accord.
The former vice president also spoke about the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and about expanding scandal involving President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his decision to meet with a Russian attorney who he believed had negative information about former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“We have to start with the baseline facts that sometimes get pushed to the background,” Gore said, noting that the CIA and all the other intelligence agencies unanimously agree that there was an “unprecedented assault on our democracy” by Russia and likely directed by its president, Vladimir Putin.
“They illegally hacked into our emails and other accounts, then weaponized that information in a very deliberate effort” to turn the election toward Trump, said Gore.
“Everything that’s coming out now has to be seen in that context.”
Gore, though, said he has confidence in former FBI Director Robert Mueller to get to the bottom of the investigation.
“It is great our country has a man like him” that everyone can rely on. “Whatever comes out, they can have confidence in it,” said Gore.
The disclosures about Trump Jr., meanwhile, are “some of the most troubling we’ve seen ina while,” said Gore. “I think it’s best to wait for Mueller.”
He said he does believe there will be several more disclosures ahead, “if it follows the pattern of all these leaks coming from apparently inside the White House.”
Gore said he’s spoken with Clinton after her loss in the 2016 election, and he suspects “she’ll be fine” after losing the election despite winning the popular vote, as he himself did in the 2000 race against President George W. Bush.
“I suspect she’ll be fine, but our country is going to face some challenging months ahead,” Gore concluded.