Donald Trump punted Wednesday on a major issue in the key swing state of Nevada: whether nuclear waste should be stored at a Yucca Mountain repository, about 100 miles from Las Vegas.
In an interview with KSNV-TV in Las Vegas, Trump was asked whether he was familiar with the ongoing debate over Yucca Mountain and responded, “I do.” He declined to take a position for or against storing waste there.
“I'm going to take a look at it, because so many people are talking about it. I came into town and everyone's talking about it. So I will take a very strong look at it, and the next time you interview me, we'll talk about it for five minutes,” Trump told KSNV's Jim Snyder.
When asked a follow-up question, Trump said he was sensitive to concerns about safety and the impact on the Las Vegas tourism industry, but once again refused to take a firm position on Yucca Mountain.
“I'm going to take a very strong look at it, and I will come very strongly one way or the other. I will have an opinion,” Trump said.
Yucca Mountain is an issue that every national political candidate has been asked about in Nevada in recent years. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton told the Las Vegas Sun in January that Yucca Mountain should be off the table because of questions about its suitability as a site and existing opposition to the idea.
For years, the debate over Yucca Mountain has seized attention in Nevada. The government identified the site in the 1980s and took steps toward completing it. But President Obama cut funding to the project.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a staunch opponent of the site and a major critic of Trump, took to Twitter to slam the GOP presidential nominee for refusing to offer a firm a position on Yucca Mountain.
Trump told us we pronounce our state wrong; then he refused to take stance on Yucca.
It's pronounced Nev-AD-a and Yucca Mountain is dead.
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) October 6, 2016
In the KSNV interview, Trump was also asked about his comments over the years about the physical appearances of women, which have come under criticism in the campaign.
“A lot of this is done in the entertainment business. I'm being interviewed for 'Apprentice' long before I ever thought in terms of running for office,” Trump said.
“Are you trying to tone it down now?” Snyder asked.
“Well, it's not a question of trying. It's very easy,” responded Trump. “But you know, you're in the entertainment business, you're doing 'The Apprentice,' you have one of the top shows on television, and you say things differently for a reason. Now, it's a much different world.”