After Pope Francis addressed climate change while speaking at the White House on Wednesday, Fox Business host Stuart Varney, who has called global warming "nonsense" in the past, expressed "shock" for nearly the next 20 minutes over what he said were "political" remarks.
“Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution," the pope said during his brief speech at the White House. "Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment of history.”
Although the pontiff was expected to address climate issues, Varney immediately reacted with shock.
"I believe the pope just walked right into the politics of climate change with a full-throated statement," Varney told his panel. "It was politics, was is not?"
"I was surprised at such an overt statement, which I thought was political statement of support for the president, President Obama, on climate change," the Fox Business host complained. "I didn't think that would include things like, 'I approve of your initiative to reduce air pollution... It seems clear that climate change is a problem... It is time to change... This climate change is powerfully striking our home and our cities.'"
Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano asserted that the president had been tipped off about the pope's remarks because the EPA director was seated in the first row.
"In most civilized countries of the world, these environmental regulations are enacted by elected representatives," he noted. "In the United States of America, they're being enacted by executive fiat through the president and the EPA!"
"It is extraordinary that right from the get-go, a papal visit to the United States, the first time this pope has been in America, we go right into climate change," Varney opined. "One would have thought that maybe there are things to talk about, like the persecution and slaughter of tens of thousands of Christians in North Africa."
After a commercial break, Varney asked General Jack Keane to comment on how President Obama was degrading the military through climate change policies. And then the Fox host turned back to his panel.
"I don't think either of us was expecting to respond to a papal speech dealing with climate change," Varney lamented. "I've got to repeat, I was shocked at how much time the pope spent on climate change! And how he walked right into the politics of climate change!"
"We have just sat though the president of the United States greeting Pope Francis to the White House and then the pope then launched into a 15 minute speech, in which it was largely about climate change and how we've all got to get on board with efforts to combat climate change," Varney continued. "I think he stepped right into policy... I'm astonished by this!"
"It's hard to understand because it's incoherent," Financial Times columnist Liz Peek agreed.
"This is pure politics, that's what it is," Varney insisted. "You raise the price of energy, what does that do to poor people in Africa, parts of Asia, Latin America, it impoverishes them. And the pope is now advocating precisely those policies.
"Where's the statement about saving my soul?" he asked. "The holy father is in the United States of America, a minister to my soul, the soul of all Catholics, all Christians. Come on!"
"I want to know how to get into heaven," someone on Varney's panel said.
"I don't think climate change is going to be particularly relevant to that," Varney quipped. "I was shocked at the prominence of climate change in that message!"