Hickenlooper Reverses Support for ‘No Fossil Fuel Money’ Pledge: This is an ‘Impossible Thing’

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper / Getty Images

Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper (D.), who recently announced he was running for president, signed a "No Fossil Fuel Money" pledge on Sunday during a campaign stop, but then crossed out his name when he learned that he couldn't accept donations from individuals tied to the fossil fuel industry.

Hickenlooper was speaking at a local bar in Newmarket, N.H., when Griffin Sinclair-Wingate, the co-founder of the New Hampshire Youth Movement, asked him if would sign his pledge not to accept money from the fossil fuel industry.

"We're not going to stop the climate crisis if our leaders are being bankrolled by the fossil fuel industry, especially our next president, so I actually have a pledge here," Sinclair-Wingate said.

"This is the pledge. It says, ‘I pledge not to take any contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industry, and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and Democracy,'" Hickenlooper said. "I will not take any contributions over $200. I'm crossing out the $200. I'm not going to take any corporate donations at all."

In the video the New Hampshire Youth Movement posted on Twitter, Sinclair-Wingate can be heard clarifying that the pledge includes individuals from the fossil fuel industry, but it doesn't appear that Hickenlooper could hear him over the noise of applause. He later confronted Hickenlooper with someone filming the encounter.

"How can I take—I don't know the people who write the checks. You can't do that. I have no idea who writes me checks. We get a thousand checks a day. People write them all the time," Hickenlooper said.

"So are you still signing this then?" Sinclair-Wingate asked.

"No, I'll cross that out," Hickenlooper said. "How can I sign this? You've made an impossible thing to sign if someone is going to run a race."

"Okay. I'm really disappointed to hear that," Sinclair-Wingate said.

Near the end of the video, the NHYM displays the 2020 candidates who have signed the "No Fossil Fuel Money" pledge. The list includes: Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii), Gov. Jay Inslee (D., Wash.), and Marianne Williamson, a liberal activist and author.

This isn't the first time that Sinclair-Wingate has used this tactic to get presidential candidates to take stronger stances on climate change and environmental causes. Back in 2016, he pressed failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on fracking and asked how she expected to win over young people if she still supported it. He was also at Sen. Amy Klobuchar's (D., Minn.) CNN town hall in New Hampshire last month, where he asked her whether she would be willing to stand with his generation in ending the student debt crisis by supporting free college for all.

"I just asked @amyklobuchar if she supports #FreeCollegeForAll live on @CNN. She said no…," Sinclair-Wingate tweeted after the encounter. "I hate to break it to you Senator but you just lost millions of votes from young people around our country."