Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call
the national interest

Republican Congressman Asks If Forest Service Can Alter Earth’s Orbit

Sadly, it cannot.

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call

Many people consider Louie Gohmert to be “the dumbest person in Congress.” (Source: Louie Gohmert.) The Texas Republican is known for his arch-right-wing beliefs, which range from refusing to wear a mask and then getting COVID to calling for a violent pro-Trump uprising days before the violent pro-Trump uprising.

And yet, in a hearing Wednesday, Gohmert supplied a moment that was insipid even by Gohmertian standards. Noting that the Earth’s orbit has slightly changed over time, Gohmert asked a Forest Service official if her department could change the Earth’s orbit in order to combat climate change:

Gohmert has apparently developed a fixation with orbital changes as the key to fighting climate change. Last month, he asserted in an interview on Fox Business Channel, “We can’t do anything substantive about the climate change right now, when the moon’s orbit is apparently changing some, the Earth’s orbit is changing some, according to NASA.”

Gohmert seems to be trying to suggest that, since altering the planet’s orbit is outside the Forest Service’s remit, then there is nothing that can be done about climate change, since only changing the Earth’s orbit can have any effect. Of course, that view is at odds with the conclusions of mainstream scientists, who believe that reducing the concentration of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere can in fact hold down temperature increases.

Of course scientists also say that refusing to wear a mask indoors in the middle of a pandemic caused by an airborne virus is dangerous.

This post has been updated.

GOP Congressman Asks Forest Service to Alter Planet’s Orbit