Columns

Pelosi: How Can Trump Explain Paris Pullout to Grandchildren, 'Assuming They Breathe Air'?

French presidential election candidate Marine Le Pen arrives outside Whirlpool factory outside the Amiens Cathedral. (Sipa via AP Images)

WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked President Trump today what he’d tell his grandchildren about air quality without the Paris climate agreement’s emissions controls, “assuming” his grandchildren breathe air.

Pelosi said she wanted to hold the news conference a day after Trump announced U.S. withdrawal from the 2016 climate pact to denounce his “stunning abdication of American leadership” on her “flagship issue.”

“It’s a health issue, it’s a national security issue, it’s an economic security issue, it’s a personal security issue, families’ health is affected by this. This agreement creates safeguards that reduce the pollution that sickens and kills tens of thousands of people each year. That’s why these countries are joining in. This is a matter of environmental justice — a big matter of environmental justice,” Pelosi said.

“Lower-income and minority families are disproportionately vulnerable to the ravages of the climate crisis. It’s a civil rights issue, environmental justice and we have a moral responsibility; in addition to our national security, our economy, and the good health of our children, we have a moral responsibility. We must leave future generations with a healthy, sustainable planet.”

She quoted from the climate encyclical Laudato Si, given to Trump by Pope Francis at the Vatican, in which the pontiff wrote, “The climate is a common good belonging to all and meant for all.”

“The Bible tells us to minister to the needs of God’s creation as an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us and that is just what we’re doing by walking away from this accord,” Pelosi said.

“The question I have for Donald Trump as a mother and a grandmother of five — and a grandmother of nine — 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 — we all do, right?”

Pelosi pressed on about “our moral responsibility to future generations to hand over this planet in a responsible way.”

“Again, how do you explain this to your grandchildren President Trump?” she said. “All the money in the world cannot change the fact that walking away from this agreement is no — is a disservice to your children, to your grandchildren and to future generations of Americans.”

The Dem leader charged that Trump “lives in a fact-free zone — in fact, he lives in a false zone of attitude.”

“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,” Pelosi said. “And if he doesn’t even want to strive to keep the planet — be responsible about the planet and its condition, then that’s an indictment on him.”