Politicians, activists, businesses sound off on climate deal


WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 9: U.S. President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn after returning to the White House in April 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday issued his long-expected decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate deal.

The announcement sent supporters of the deal, companies and other nations reeling, while opponents hailed the move.

Here are some of the immediate reactions to Trump’s decision to pull the US from the landmark deal.

Top Democrats

Former President Bill Clinton slammed the move on Twitter, saying, “We owe our children more.”

Former President Barack Obama issued a statement defending the deal, a cornerstone of his environmental legacy.

The statement said, “The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created.”

John Kerry, who served as secretary of state under Obama, called the move Trump’s “big mistake.”

He wrote on Facebook: “The President who promised ‘America First’ has taken a self-destructive step that puts our nation last.”


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, applauded the decision in a statement, saying: “President Trump has once again put families and jobs ahead of left-wing ideology and should be commended for his action.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan called the accord, which was entered by former President Barack Obama in 2016, “a raw deal for America.”

Other Republicans by and large praised Trump, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz claiming: “The Paris agreement would have destroyed $3 trillion in American GDP and killed 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040.”

On the other side of the aisle, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, called Trump’s move “a devastating failure of historic proportions.”

Rank and file Senate Democrats joined Schumer in opposing Trump.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said on Twitter: “Trump’s shortsighted, extremist strategy on #ParisAgreement threatens to put American leadership at a disadvantage for generations to come.”

However, Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, expressed his support: “While I believe that the United States and the world should continue to pursue a cleaner energy future, I do not believe that the Paris Agreement ensures a balance between our environment and the economy.”

Ahead of the announcement, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham had said he hoped Trump would not take the US out of the deal.

After Trump said he would, Graham seemed to look for solace in Trump’s call for the US to renegotiate the nearly 200-nation deal. Graham said, “I support President Trump’s desire to re-enter the Paris Accord after the agreement becomes a better deal for America and business.”

State and local

Three Democratic governors announced they had formed a “climate alliance” in the wake of Trump’s decision.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement that they would work together to cut the nation’s CO2 emissions, and invited other states to join.

Likewise, a group of 61 mayors signed on to an open letter saying they would push for action on climate change at the local level. The mayors included New York’s Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles’ Eric Garcetti and Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, together the leaders of the nation’s three most populous cities.

Business and interest groups

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk expressed regret over Trump’s decision on Twitter and said he would exit Trump’s economic councils.

Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein, a Trump campaign target who has since seen many current and former Goldman employees join the Trump administration, sent a tweet — the only on his account — decrying the “setback for the environment.”

The Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy organization, sent a tweet ribbing Trump for the influence of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, a major opponent of the agreement.

Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, supported the move.

Its CEO, Mike Needham, posted a picture at the White House of Trump delivering his speech.

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