President Trump is certainly following through on his campaign promise to put America first. Although the long-term benefits of withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement are debatable, to say the least, the president’s somewhat blinkered approach to world affairs actually reflects the mandate given to him upon his election last November.
In a speech announcing the withdrawal (and potential renegotiation), the president said that the decision was made in order to “fulfil my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens”. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell subsequently hailed Trump “for dealing yet another significant blow to the Obama administration’s assault on domestic energy production and jobs”.
The rejection of the agreement has of course been met with rebukes from other world leaders and climate change experts. Merkel, Macron and Gentiloni of Germany, France and Italy released a joint statement, saying: “We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies”.
The U.S. now joins Syria and Nicaragua in being the only countries to reject the deal. With the country now at odds with the rest of the world on such a key issue, the diplomatic fallout is likely to be damaging. For a president focused on putting America first, though, this is unlikely to concern Trump for the time being.