President Donald Trump declared at a campaign event Thursday that he was perfectly willing to protect the environment — unless other countries around the around made it too expensive to do so.
“I am truly an environmentalist,” Trump told supporters in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. “But you have to understand, when we do things, and they don’t, and we clean — and it’s very expensive to do that — and they don’t, and we have this massive planet, and China, India, Russia, Germany, all these places are fuming up, and we’re doing our job and beautiful, they have to do it also. Otherwise, it just doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.”
The president — who has downplayed the threat of climate change in the past and blamed other countries for global warming — also dismissed wind power as a viable energy source and said that bans on plastic straws were impractical, something his campaign has frequently raised as an example of the left’s environmental agenda
Trump played up the inconvenience of a paper straw, arguing that it “disintegrates as you drink,” allowing liquid to dribble on your tie.
Contrary to Trump’s claim to be an environmentalist, he and his administration withdrew the United States from the Paris climate accord, rolled back nearly 100 regulations designed to limit pollution from the oil and gas industry and established “the worst record on the environment and climate action of any president in the history of the country,” according to the Sierra Club.
Trump’s Interior Department reduced the size of national monuments and weakened restrictions protecting wildlife, a New York Times analysis found. His Environmental Protection Agency also repealed greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles and power plants, the newspaper added.
Former President Barack Obama — who passed auto emissions standards that Trump has worked to roll back — slammed his successor’s environmental record in March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States. At the same time, Trump’s administration finished an auction to sell gas and oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We’ve seen too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic,” Obama tweeted. “We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.”
You can watch PBS video of Trump’s Latrobe rally below.