During rambling remarks Thursday afternoon, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, used a snowball as a prop on the Senate floor. The apparent purpose of this stunt: to show the recent spate of cold weather in the Northeast is a sign that human activity isn’t causing climate change.
The snowball was brought to the Senate floor in a sealable plastic bag.
Inhofe began his speech with the snowball at his side on the speaker’s podium. After he was introduced, he removed it from the bag, held it in his hand, and said, “I ask the chair, you know what this is? It’s a snowball, just from outside here. So it’s very, very cold out. Very unseasonal. Mr. President, catch this.”
Inhofe then underhand tossed the snowball in the direction of Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who was presiding over the Senate at the time.
Reaction on Twitter was swift:
Sen. Inhofe says, about 2014 being the warmest year on record, what about this snowball? pic.twitter.com/AjJe2K2gZo— Patrick Terpstra (@PatrickTerpstra) February 26, 2015
Please tell me this is a joke.. RT @hillhulse: Sen Inhofe has a snowball on the Senate floor. Evidence of lack of global warning.— Ricky Matthews (@wxrjm) February 26, 2015
OH in Capitol press gallery: "This day is really wacky ... one of the wackier ones."— Elana Schor (@eschor) February 26, 2015
The stunt occurred around the same time as the Internet was freaking out about some escaped llamas in Arizona, so many may have missed it. The juxtaposition was not lost on some:
Meantime, Jim Inhofe heard an animal allegedly dumber than him had the spotlight so he threw a snowball in the Senate http://t.co/UI6AufRWmQ— Chris Turner (@theturner) February 26, 2015
if only we could bring #llamas on to the floor of the Senate to spit at Senators who throw snowballs.— RL Miller (@RL_Miller) February 26, 2015
In his comments, Inhofe was his typical climate-denying self—which is frustrating because he wields significant power on U.S. climate policy in the newly Republican-controlled Senate. “I’m not a scientist, and don’t claim to be,” Inhofe said on Thursday. He then cited, among other things, a Newsweek article from 1975 (whose author recently lamented the way climate change deniers use his work), archaeological evidence, and Scriptures, in addition to the snowball, as evidence that refutes the claim that “somehow man is so important that he can change [the climate].”
Your move, llamas.