Energy & Environment

Trump says, he’s ‘truly an environmentalist’, slams bans on plastic products

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President Trump described himself as “truly an environmentalist” at a campaign event Thursday before attacking bans on single-use plastic products.

At a campaign event in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, Trump stated that while he is an environmentalist, cleaning up the environment is expensive, and other countries need to do the same. 

“I am truly an environmentalist but you have to understand when we do things and they don’t, and we clean, and it’s very expensive to do that, and they don’t and we have this massive planet and China, India, Russia, Germany all these places are fuming up and we’re doing our job beautiful, they have to do it also,” the president said Thursday at a campaign event in Latrobe, Pa.

“They want to ban straws. Has anybody ever tried those paper straws? They’re not working too good.” Trump said. “I’ve had a couple of meals at McDonalds, et cetera, over the years. Wendy’s, a friend of mine owns Wendy’s I’ll give it a plug,” he added.



The Trump administration has come under sharp criticism from former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as environmental groups and advocates for rolling back several environmental protections in recent years. 

As recently as last month, the EPA rolled back waste water regulations from coal-fired power plants, which critics say will lead to mercury, arsenic and other dangerous substances leaching into waterways. 

The administration has also rolled back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards put in place to push automakers to produce more fuel efficient vehicles. The administration has argued that the roll back will allow companies to produce cheaper cars and that customers will be able to purchase vehicles with updated safety standards. 

The president continued during his speech Thursday to slam paper straws. 

“[A paper straw] disintegrates as you drink it. If you had a nice tie like this tie, it would have no chance. By the time you get finished it’s totally disintegrated.”

Several U.S. municipalities have banned single-use plastic straws in restaurants for environmental reasons. Disabled activists have also criticized the bans, noting that in many cases straws are the only way they can drink.

“You’re putting this burden on disabled people to come up with a solution. You’re not asking companies that manufacture straws to come up with a version that works for us,” autism activist Lei Wiley-Mydske told NPR in 2018.

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