LeadershipBroadsheetDiversity and InclusionCareersVenture Capital

As Harvey Death Toll Rises, Kellyanne Conway Refused to Talk About Climate Change

August 31, 2017, 6:33 PM UTC

One of President Trump’s most vocal surrogates berated a reporter for asking about climate change.

On Wedesday night, CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway about whether President Trump—who has previously said that he’s not a “believer in man-made global warming“—was open to talking about climate change in the wake of Hurricane Harvey:

“One of the themes that’s coming out of this…is whether or not what happened in Harvey and why it’s happening and why these storms happen, open up a discussion about the role of climate change. Is the president, is the administration, open to that conversation?”

Conway didn’t say “no” outright, but did criticize Cuomo for posing the question:

“Chris, we’re trying to help the people whose lives are literally underwater, and you want to have a conversation about climate change. I mean, that is—I’m not going to engage in that right now because I work for a president and a vice president and a country that is very focused on helping the millions of affected Texans, and, god forbid, Louisianans.”

Subscribe to The Broadsheet, Fortune‘s daily newsletter about the most powerful women.

Cuomo responded with, “Imagine if we could find ways to reduce the number of these storms,” after which Conway proceeded to talk about the devastation wreaked by the storm. (As of Thursday afternoon, the storm’s death toll is 37, according to CNN.)

As for whether she or the president believe climate change played a role in causing it the storm in the first place: “I’ll come back to talk about that.”

It’s not yet clear whether climate change caused or impacted the severity of the storm. John Nielsen-Gammon, the regents professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, explained in an editorial for Fortune: “In one sense, everything is affected by climate change. Our atmosphere is different; our weather is different. If there’s a parallel universe out there without man-made climate change, they’ll be experiencing not just a different climate but an entirely different sequence of day-to-day weather. A more useful question is whether we’ve altered the likelihood or destructiveness of events such as Harvey.”

What we do know, writes Nielsen-Gammon is that Harvey was “the worst rainstorm in U.S. history.” He writes: “By my estimate, never before has a single rainfall event produced such a deluge anywhere in the U.S. It is as if six Mississippi Rivers poured all their water onto a small section of south-central and southeast Texas for three straight days.”

See the full exchange between Cuomo and Conway below: