Trump went on to explain that another key factor in his support for ANWR drilling—which scientists and conservationists have said would cause irreperable harm to “the most beautiful, pristine wildlife refuge that we have in the United States”—was the failure of previous presidents to open up the 19 million-acre refuge to the oil and gas industry.

“I really didn’t care about it, but then when I heard everybody wanted it for 40 years, they’ve been trying to get it approved and I said, ‘make sure you don’t lose ANWR,’ Trump explained.

As Earther‘s Brian Kahn notes, Trump’s remarks are further evidence that—in the view of the White House and the Republican leadership—”America’s treasures are up for sale and the only thing you need to get them is the president’s phone number.”

“It’s a sickening display of how easily the president is swayed into supporting something that will likely benefit his friends at the expense of the public,” Kahn added.

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