Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday hammered President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE in personal terms, accusing him of endangering his own grandchildren by pulling out of the Paris climate accord.
Pelosi, the House minority leader, said Trump’s decision imperils the first family — and Americans of all generations to come — by creating new risks to the country’s national security, economic strength and, most menacingly, its public health.
In a personal shot, she framed her critique with questions of Trump’s commitment to the health of his own family.
“The question I have for Donald Trump, as a mother … of five and a grandmother of nine, is how is he ever going to explain to his grandchildren what he did to the air they breathe — assuming they breathe air. And I have to assume that is the case,” Pelosi said during a rare recess press briefing in the Capitol.
“What happened yesterday on the climate issue is an embarrassment to our country, and it should be an embarrassment to him personally for how he answers to his grandchildren.”
The climate issue is hardly new to Pelosi. As House Speaker almost a decade ago, she formed a special committee to examine the threat of climate change.
And in 2010, she rammed a sweeping climate bill through the House, even knowing it would be an enormous political liability to vulnerable Democrats in rural districts. Months later, the Democrats lost 63 seats, and the gavel shifted back to the Republicans.
Pelosi said Trump’s decision is short-sighted on several fronts.
Citing Pentagon officials — including Defense Secretary James Mattis — she warned that climate change disrupts poor and vulnerable communities abroad, leading to refugee crises and other economic upheavals that foster terrorism.
Economically, the Paris accord would have helped promote a boon in domestic green jobs, she said — jobs that might now shift overseas.
Healthwise, she cautioned, Trump’s adherence to coal and other fossil fuels will pollute the air and water at the expense of public safety. And as the world’s wealthiest nation, she said, the U.S. has a moral responsibility to “leave future generations with a healthy, sustainable planet.”
“It was a stunning abdication of American leadership,” she charged.
Signed by former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBill Maher, Isiah Thomas score over the NFL's playing of 'Black national anthem' Democrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' White House debates vaccines for air travel MORE in 2015, the Paris climate accord joined almost every global nation behind the notion that climate change is affected by human activity, and every government has a vested interest in trying to rein it in.
In Congress, however, there was no such agreement, and the issue became a political football pitting Democratic supporters against Republican critics.
Trump on the campaign trail vowed to “cancel” U.S. involvement in the deal. And speaking Thursday from the White House, he did just that, framing the decision in the “America First” language that won him the presidency.
“I can put no other consideration before the well-being of the American citizens,” Trump said.
“The Paris climate accord is an example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shut factories and vastly diminished economic production.”
Most Republicans cheered the withdrawal, agreeing with Trump that the accord threatened U.S. businesses in the global marketplace.
House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book Paul Ryan says it's 'really clear' Biden won election: 'It was not rigged. It was not stolen' Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms MORE (R-Wis.) characterized the pact as “a raw deal for America” that “would have driven up the cost of energy, hitting middle-class and low-income Americans the hardest.”
“In order to unleash the power of the American economy, our government must encourage production of American energy,” he said in a statement.
Ryan’s support wasn’t overlooked by Pelosi, who bashed the Speaker’s position as “pathetic.”
“So wrong. So uninformed. So irresponsible to future generations of America,” she said.
Pelosi also highlighted an element of the Paris accord largely ignored by Trump on Thursday: The pact is nonbinding.
“If the president would read it, if he would gain knowledge about what he’s talking about, he would understand that this is not an obstacle to us going forward. It is not a requirement except to strive,” she said.
“And if he doesn’t even want to strive to … be responsible about the planet and its condition, then that’s an indictment on him.”