Energy & Environment

Ex-Trump aide: Tillerson is ‘part of the swamp’


A former transition official for President Trump says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “part of the swamp” because he wants to stay in the Paris agreement on climate change.

Myron Ebell, who led the post-election transition at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also took on Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, a close Trump adviser, for advocating to stay in the Paris agreement.

Ebell spoke Friday at the conservative Heartland Institute’s climate change conference, a major annual gathering of climate change doubters in Washington, D.C.

{mosads}Trump promised on the campaign trail to take the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, and Ebell railed on Tillerson, Ivanka Trump, Kushner and other forces in the administration and elsewhere who want Trump to break that promise.

“Swamp creatures are still there” in the Trump administration, Ebell warned attendees, referring to Trump’s frequent promise to “drain the swamp” by fighting lobbyists, bureaucrats and the D.C. establishment.

“Rex Tillerson may be from Texas, and he may have been CEO of Exxon. But he’s part of the swamp,” Ebell said, to applause.

“And I’m sorry to say that we’ve heard that the president’s daughter and son-in-law also support staying in Paris. And I don’t know that they really want to be identified as swamp creatures, and I’m not going to do so,” Ebell continued.

“But I do think that at some point, it needs to be pointed out to President Trump and his administration that the people who elected Donald J. Trump are not wealthy Manhattanites, including his children.”

Tillerson has stated publicly that he supports the Paris agreement, in which nearly 200 countries agreed to specific, nonbinding goals to reduce or limit their greenhouse gas emissions. He reasons that it’s better to keep “a seat at the table” and not abandon it.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner have also pushed to stay in the pact.

The president is planning as soon as next week an executive order to fight numerous pieces of former President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda. But it’s expected that he will not use that to pull out of the agreement, although he may reduce Obama’s pledge to cut United States emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025.

Ebell, who heads the energy and environment program at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, warned that if Trump doesn’t pull out of Paris, environmental groups could use the pact in court to compel the EPA to keep Obama’s climate regulations like the Clean Power Plan.

“We must get out of the Paris agreement,” he said.

Tags Barack Obama Climate change Paris agreement
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