President Donald Trump is trying to heighten public suspense about whether or not he will withdraw from the Paris climate accords, even though there are reports indicating that he plans on doing so.
Despite this public statement suggesting he hasn't made up his mind, Axios reported Wednesday that Trump has already decided to pull out of the Paris accords. "A letter from 22 Republican Senators (including Mitch McConnell) that called for a clean exit had reinforced Trump's instincts to withdraw," the site said, "and the president had been telling confidants over the past week that he was going to pull out."
If this is true, it would constitute a major victory for chief strategist Steve Bannon and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, both of whom were pushing for Trump to follow through on his campaign promise to withdraw from the 2015 international agreement, according to a report by The New York Times. This would also be a major blow to Ivanka Trump, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, all of whom reportedly wanted the president to remain in the accords and pursue other means of rolling back environmental regulations.
If Trump withdraws, it will also be a major blow to America's standing within the international community. Only two other countries — Nicaragua and Syria — aren't participating in the agreement.
"Donald Trump has made a historic mistake which our grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality," declared Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune in a statement.
"Trump has abandoned the standard of American leadership, turned his back on the what the public and the market demand, and shamelessly disregarded the safety of our families just to let the fossil fuel industry eek out a few more dollars in profits. This is a decision that will cede America’s role internationally to nations like China and India, which will benefit handsomely from embracing the booming clean energy economy while Trump seeks to drive our country back into the 19th century."