David Roberts · Sunday, May 07, 2017, 10:33 am
Pulling out of Paris is incredibly reckless and would shoot the US in the foot.
The debate over whether to officially pull the US out of the Paris climate accord has been raging in the Trump White House for months. There have been widely announced meetings, then delays of meetings, and then more meetings.
Apparently, however, the end of the dithering is nigh. At an April 29 rally, Trump promised a “big decision” on the matter in the next two weeks. Now, according to the administration, that decision has a firm date: Tuesday.
The outcome is of interest not only for substantive reasons (more on those below), but for reasons of Kremlinology. Like perhaps no other single issue, Paris has divided Trump’s circle of advisers. Which side he comes down on will reveal a great deal about who is currently in his favor.
Leading the charge to stay in are “the globalists” (as Trump’s hardcore supporters derisively refer to them): White House economic advisor Gary Cohn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Secretary of Mideast Peace and the Opioid Epidemic Jared Kushner, Secretary of #Brands Ivanka Trump, and, according to The New York Times, “a slew of foreign policy advisers and career diplomats.”
Leading the charge to pull out are the nationalists, principally Steve Bannon and White House counsel Don McGahn, and the committed climate deniers, principally EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. According to one source with knowledge of the deliberations, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is both a nationalist and a climate denier, was also in attendance at the most recent meeting. (What does the AG have to do with international treaties? Good question.)
At first, rumor had it that the globalists were winning and Trump would keep America in. Then, late last week, rumors tore around that the nationalists were triumphant and Trump would withdraw. According to Axios, the business lobby simply can’t bring itself to believe that he’ll actually do it. But environmentalists are on the verge of panic. Ivanka, the closest thing they have to a representative in the White House, is reportedly going to try to talk sense to Pruitt on Tuesday morning.
It’s a mess. And as usual, it is impossible to know what to make of all the contradictory leaks. Trump himself hasn’t exactly made things clear, though he has called Paris a “bad deal.”
Never mind the tea leaves, though. The outcome of all the internal jockeying will be apparent soon enough.