Trump makes quick stop at UN climate event

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE made a quick stop on Monday morning at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, an event he had been expected to skip.

Trump took a seat next to Vice President Pence as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was onstage.

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Trump was seen applauding Modi after he ended his speech with a call to action: “The world needs to act now.”

Trump also sat through German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s remarks before departing. Merkel in her comments promised that Germany would obtain net zero emissions by 2050. She added that her country would phase out coal by 2038.

Trump did not appear to clap after Merkel's remarks. He attended the event for between 10 and 15 minutes total, according to reporters at the U.N.

Asked later why he attended the event Trump said, “I’m a big believer in clean air and clean water, and all countries should get together and do that, and they should do it for themselves. Very, very important.”

The president had been expected to miss the New York event, which was pegged as the capstone to a week of international climate protests and marches. He did not attend a Group of Seven meeting on climate change during a summit in late August in Biarritz, France. 

Trump was scheduled to headline a religious liberty event that was set to take place during the climate summit on Monday in New York.

But White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamDemocrats seize on new evidence in first public impeachment hearing More Democrats in poll say Trump will finish first term amid impeachment inquiry The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats open televised impeachment hearings MORE acknowledged earlier Monday on "Fox & Friends" that Trump could make an appearance at the climate event.

Trump's appearance came as Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg was speaking on a separate stage.

“Change is coming whether you like it or not," she said during her remarks. Thunberg spent portions of last week in Washington, D.C., meeting with lawmakers and testifying before Congress. She did not meet with Trump.

— This report was updated at 1:37 p.m.