Trump defies globalists and makes the right call to support coal
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President Trump appears to have made the right decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement and fulfill his campaign promises.

But it took him longer than necessary to make the call. He needs to remind those who work for his administration who is in charge. The repeated comments to the press that contradict his policies by those who surround him are undermining his ability to not only accomplish his promises but even to credibly set his administration’s agenda.

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The latest distraction was offered by former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, who serves as White House National Economic Council director. Cohn met with reporters on the flight to the Group of 7 meeting, which included the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. The Paris climate agreement was a hot topic.

 

Trump’s assistant denigrated the president’s position with respect to energy development when he attacked coal as a viable energy source, saying, “Coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock.” 

The remarks in advance of meetings where the president would be confronted by other leaders anxious to get him to embrace the economy-destroying global climate agreement deliberately undermined Trump. Fortunately, the president didn’t back down in the face of enormous pressure from these world leaders, but no thanks to his staff.

If Democrat Gary Cohn wants to be president, he can take his Wall Street resume back to New York City, build his own campaign, and try to convince the Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Ellison wins Minnesota AG primary amid late domestic violence allegations Ironworker and star of viral video wins Dem primary for Speaker Ryan's seat MORE dominated party of his choice to nominate him. But as long as he works for a president who campaigned and won in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia largely due to his support for the resource extraction industry, Cohn should avoid talking to the media about his opinions on energy.

When you work for an elected official, you get the ability to share your opinions internally, but waive the right to share them publicly when they are not in sync with those of your boss — in this case, the President of the United States.

Cohn was right on one thing: natural gas is going to play a large role in America’s energy future, but it will not and should not replace coal. Natural gas depends upon pipelines and is not easily storable, making it significantly less reliable than coal, which is easy to store and warehouse. This is a tremendous advantage in an era when environmental radicals threaten the soft targets that pipelines represent.

The national security implications of natural gas supply disruptions without having a large amount of our nation’s electricity grid fueled by reliable and available coal or nuclear power are frightening given its interconnectivity and stretched capacity.

As a globalist traveling in Europe, Cohn must have noticed the vulnerability of what was once known as Western Europe to disruptions of natural gas pipelines from Russia. As Ukraine remains a hot spot between Russia and NATO countries, many in Europe worry that their dependency on Russian natural gas makes them vulnerable to energy blackmail.

Yet, Europe itself ignores the energy beneath its own feet in a willful blindness. Germany is rich with coal and the economic certainty it provides. Yet, Germany would rather import most of the limited coal they use and is in the process of ending its nuclear power generation capability by 2022, thus increasing their dependency on Russian natural gas, even as they intellectualize the potentially devastating effects of that dependency.

In the United States, Trump made it clear on the campaign trail last year that the war on coal was over in his administration. Many of his actions have demonstrated his commitment to coal and nuclear power as a large and expanded part of our national energy security plan.

After Cohn’s ill-advised opinions, the Trump wisely stood up to the G-7 leaders who sought to push him to a so-called “climate deal.” Now, he needs to tell his own staff, that they need to follow his lead, or find another job. In order for Trump to succeed, he needs his own White House pushing his policies, setting a clear direction for Congress and others to follow.

Cohn is just the latest White House aide who forgot that he doesn’t sit behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office. For the nation’s sake, let’s hope that Cohn is the last to speak out of turn. The administration needs to set an unambiguous, coherent, forward-looking economic policy that puts our nation on a course toward true full employment and roaring economic growth, turning the corner from the worst growth in U.S. history that we have endured over the past decade.

The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement should be followed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry aggressively engaging in policies that will re-energize the coal and nuclear electricity generation options, creating a true “all of the above” strategy.

Electricity generation is both an economic and national security priority. Trump needs to ignore out of touch advisors like Gary Cohn and put American energy security first by emphasizing stable, reliable, and resilient electricity generating sources.

Rick Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government, an organization that works with Congress and legislatures across the country to promote free enterprise and prevent the expansion of government.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Editor's note: This column was updated at 9:05am.