In recent years, science has become weaponised by right-wing charismatic populist governments who seek, increasingly, to deny, obfuscate and politicise scientific data in order to widen the partisan divide. Climate change represents the ultimate front line in a politicised war against science, one that carries grave consequences on an economic, sociopolitical level. Yet, at the same time, it offers valuable political capital to those that practice it.
Climate change denial formed a cornerstone of 45th US President Donald Trump's development of charismatic authority (Weber, 1968), a form of leadership that Trump utilised to develop a deep, cult-like bond with his base. This chapter subsequently explores the way in which Trumps' social media-driven campaign of climate change denial significantly strengthened his charismatic appeal, bolstering partisanship and his chances for re-election. The case study allows a closer look at the phenomenon of how, and why, charismatic populist political leaders tend to rely on the denigration and demonisation of climate change scientists and other intellectuals as a central part of their political strategy.