President Donald Trump pulled out of the controversial Paris climate agreement on Thursday, saying the decision reflected a desire to give priority to Pittsburgh over Paris.
Trump decided to take bold action on withdrawing from the accord, which former President Barack Obama entered into during 2015, by adding no caveats from withdrawal, except to say he might renegotiate a new document after leaving the environmental regulatory agreement.
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” said Trump, referring to steel mills in the city that would have been affected by the continued accord regulatory goals.
Trump framed the withdrawal as keeping a vow to protect workers and U.S. sovereignty.
“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers,” Trump said. “We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can, that’s great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”
Trump made a big show of the withdrawal, packing the White House Rose Garden with media, Cabinet members and dozens of young staffers.
Trump also trolled his critics a bit, adding a Marine band in the back, who played jazz music before Trump’s lengthy comments.
The sweet music likely won’t soothe the liberal rage. Reaction in Europe and Asia was already bad, and liberal billionaire Elon Musk said he was quitting Trump’s business councils of advisers.
At 4:20 p.m., environmental groups were still running ads on Washington TV stations, in favor of the Paris accord, almost one hour after Trump said he would exit the United States. The effort to influence Trump at the last-minute failed.
The withdrawal is a significant victory for Trump’s populist advisers, such as White House official Steve Bannon, who had been lobbying Trump to honor his 2016 campaign pledge to pull out of the Paris accord, which would cap carbon emissions and put heavy strain on power plants and automobile producers.
Tea Party Patriots thanked Trump for keeping the promise.
“[The Paris accord] is a drag on our economy and a bad deal for American workers,” said Jenny Beth Martin, president of Tea Party Patriots. “The requirements in the Paris accord agreed to by the Obama administration could cost our economy almost $3 trillion over the next several decades and have a catastrophic effect on American jobs.”
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