White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders derided New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's recent claim that the world will end in 12 years due to climate change, and suggested the Trump administration has little need for the progressive firebrand's thoughts in general, in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview Tuesday night with Fox News' "Hannity."
Sanders also slammed what she called the "disgraceful" media coverage of the previous week, which included a discredited BuzzFeed News report on the Russia investigation and a social media harassment campaign against pro-Trump Catholic high school students -- based largely on incomplete and selectively edited videos of their encounter with a Native American man and other activists shouting homophobic slurs.
"I don't think we're going to listen to [Ocasio-Cortez] on much of anything -- particularly not on matters we're gonna leave in the hands of a much, much higher authority -- and certainly, not listen to the freshman congresswoman on when the world may end," Sanders said.
Speaking at an event commemorating Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Ocasio-Cortez asserted that climate change constituted "our World War II" and added: “Millennials and people, you know, Gen Z and all these folks that will come after us are looking up and we’re like: ‘The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is, how are we gonna pay for it?'"
A United Nations report on climate change warned late last year that the world will face several consequences from climate change – extreme drought, food shortages and deadly flooding – unless there’s an “unprecedented” effort made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Then, in November, the Trump administration released a federal report that found that the impacts of climate change are being felt across the country, and “extreme weather and climate-related events” are going to worsen in the years to come -- with a significant possible impact on the economy by the end of the century.
Some conservative commentators have argued that most proposed solutions would do more harm than good, and also have accused climate activists of crying wolf. In 2006, a NASA scientist and leading global warming researcher declared that the world had only 10 years to avert a climate catastrophe. Meantime, President Trump repeatedly has cast doubt on the risks posed by global warming, despite the report from his administration.
‘‘Large parts of the Country are suffering from tremendous amounts of snow and near record setting cold," Trump tweeted on Sunday. "Amazing how big this system is. Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!’’
In 2012, Trump famously wrote: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
Now, Sanders said, the attention should be on pressing matters like the ongoing partial federal government shutdown over funding for Trump's proposed border wall.
"We're focused on what's happening in the world right now," Sanders told host Sean Hannity. "We wish that Democrats like herself would engage in that conversation, help us fix some of the current problems we know exist, and work with us to get some things done -- particularly on the border, fixing the national and humanitarian crisis."
Sanders added, in an apparent reference to God: "That's the kind of stuff we're focused on, not things we're gonna leave up to the hands of something and someone much more powerful than any of us."
The president himself seemingly has little patience for Ocasio-Cortez. Asked last week outside the White House for his response to Ocasio-Cortez's claim that there is "no question" he's a racist, Trump responded simply: "Who cares?"
Separately, Sanders said it was "a sad day in America" when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., preemptively rejected Trump's compromise proposal to end the partial federal shutdown. The White House offered various immigration-related concessions to Democrats in exchange for border wall funding.
"Republicans have been in lock-step with the president, because we actually believe in getting something done," Sanders said. "[Democrats] are not looking to solve problems, but they're simply looking to kick the can down the road."
Sanders added, "The president is a leader, and Nancy Pelosi is nothing more than an obstructionist."
The White House press secretary said Pelosi's security concerns about the upcoming planned Jan. 29 State of the Union address were unfounded, and that the White House was "moving forward" with plans for the address in Congress.
"I don't know if there would be a place that all of those members would attend, but the president's focus is on speaking to the American people."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on Tuesday that he would have no objections to Trump delivering a State of the Union address in the House of Representatives, despite Pelosi's repeated threats that the traditional speech be delayed.
"Sure," Hoyer, D-Md., responded, when asked if he'd be open to Trump speaking in person in the House for the State of the Union. Asked if Pelosi would agree, he added, "I don't know what the discussions have been."
"What happened for BuzzFeed is a great lesson for the news media. Quit trying to be first, and start trying to be right."
Sanders concluded by bashing BuzzFeed News, which authored a bombshell report alleging Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress -- a report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team dismissed as inaccurate. Sanders, like Donald Trump Jr. on Monday, said the episode was similar to the media coverage of a Catholic high school pro-life trip to Washington over the weekend.
The Covington High School students stood near the Lincoln Memorial as activists identified as Black Hebrew Israelites shouted homophobic slurs at them, and a Native American man approached them banging a drum. Initial videos of the episode suggested that the students were harassing the man.
Many liberal and conservative commentators criticized the students -- and, in some cases, called for them to be personally harassed and their school closed -- based on initial, incomplete videos, only to walk back their comments after a fuller video showed that the students themselves had been harassed, and that the students did not appear to approach the Native American man or the activists at any point.
"I've never seen so many people so happy to destroy a kid's life," Sanders said, referring to the social media response to the episode -- which included multiple death threats and verbal intimidation directed at the students.
Covington High School Principal Robert Rowe announced Tuesday that the school was closed for the day due to safety concerns.
Fox News' Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.