Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris accord on climate change on Wednesday afternoon – deriding it as bad for American jobs and bad for the environment.
He dared opprobrium from foreign leaders, environmentalists, scientists and celebrities to say he was putting the jobs of American workers first.
‘We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more. And they won’t be. They won’t be,’ Trump declared. ‘I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.’
Before he even sat down, his predecessor Barack Obama launched an all-out assault, saying Trump ‘joins a small handful of nations that reject the future’.
He complained in the White House’s Rose Garden that major polluters like China are allowed to increase their emissions under the agreement in a way that the US cannot. India is hinging its participation on billions of dollars of foreign aid.
The deal is a ‘massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries,’ he argued. ‘The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level’ to the US.
‘This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,’ Trump said.
Trump said he would also end the United States’ participation in the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund, which he said lacks affirmative obligations.
In a slap at European leaders who’d lobbied him last week, including France’s Emmanuel Macron, Trump said the Paris exit is ‘a reassertion of America’s sovereignty.’
‘Foreign leaders in Europe, Asia and across the world should not have more to say with respect to the United States economy that our own citizens and their elected representatives,’ Trump proclaimed.
Trump said he would be willing to get back in but only if he is allowed to renegotiate the terms of the United States’ participation.
The Republican president also said he could not support the agreement ‘in good conscience,’ from an environmental stand point, either, ‘as someone who cares deeply the environment, which I do,’ because it is non-binding.
It imposes ‘no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters,’ Trump said.
Trump ended months of speculation in an afternoon Rose Garden event promoted with all the anticipation of a major press conference.
He sided with conservative groups over world leaders and his daughter Ivanka, declaring that the accord poses a dire threat to the American economy and jobs market.
She was not there to see more conservative advisers applaud loudly as he said the United States was out of the treaty. Neither was her husband, Jared Kushner, one of this closest aides.
The White House tipped its hand when it distributed a set of talking points to allied organizations that proclaimed, ‘The Paris Accord is a BAD deal for Americans, and the President’s action today is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first.’
The document says the US is exiting the international climate accord because it is in the best interest of US economy.
A successful businessman before he was elected, Trump has already taken steps to end the ‘job-killing’ regulations his predecessor enacted in order to bring the US in line with the environmental pact.
In a May 26, 2016 speech to a gas- and oil-friendly crowd in Bismarck, North Dakota, he declared flatly: ‘We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement.’
Trump also said then that if he were elected he would stop making payments to United Nations programs that fight global warming.
The talking points the White House gave to conservative organizations on Thursday said, ‘The Accord was negotiated poorly by the Obama Administration and signed out of desperation.’
‘It frontloads costs on the American people to the detriment of our economy and job growth while extracting meaningless commitments from the world’s top global emitters, like China. The U.S. is already leading the world in energy production and doesn’t need a bad deal that will harm American workers.’
Myron Ebell, the head of Trump’s environmental division during the presidential transition, had told DailyMail.com on Thursday morning that Trump was gearing up for an exit.
‘You can take it to the bank that he’s going withdraw,’ Ebell said.
Ebell’s CEI had been intimately involved in discussions about the agreement Trump said he’d cancel as a candidate.
A spokesman for the Heartland Institute, Jim Lakely, said the conservative organization’s president was headed to Washington for the ceremony at the White House’s invitation.
‘I don’t think they’d invite him if the Ivanka/Jared side of the tug-of-war on this issue won the argument,’ Lakely said.
Trump, the most unpredictable U.S. president in a century, performed as expected despite sending signals of ambivalence about his yes-or-no decision during the week and telling reporters that he was ‘hearing from a lot of people, both ways.’
Asked if America would be in or out, Trump would only say: ‘You’re going to find out very soon.’
Ebell told DailyMail.com on that day that the situation was fluid.