WASHINGTON – National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster pushed back on the characterization that President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord was “anti-environment” or “anti-climate.”
“I didn’t realize it was that controversial. No, I’m just kidding. I didn’t hear anything from my European colleagues or anything about that. So I think what’s important about that is to look at the president’s rationale. The president’s rationale wasn’t anti-climate and it wasn’t anti-environment. He said this is a bad deal. If you care about the environment, it’s a bad deal because the worst polluters get a free ride. Right?” McMaster said on Tuesday at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) annual conference, “Navigating the Divide.”
“If you want a fair deal for Americans, it’s not a fair deal because you’re subsidizing renewable sources of energy for countries that really need some renewable sources of energy, but what they really need are clean fossil fuels so they can grow their economies and employ the youth bulge that’s coming up in a lot of these areas that are less developed,” he added.
McMaster said Trump’s Rose Garden speech about the Paris accord demonstrates his “commitment” to the environment and climate.
“So, I know I’m not going to convince anybody who thinks we should have stayed in Paris that that was the right decision. But I just ask you to look at the rationale around it and then what we are endeavoring for now for the president who has asked us to do this – develop an environmental policy and a climate policy. And I think we have some really good ideas. And if you pick out parts of the president’s speech, you will see his affirmation, his commitment to the environment, so that’s what we’re working on now,” he said.
McMaster acknowledged that the Paris accord exit would “obviously” continue to be a “point of disagreement” with “a lot” of U.S. allies.
“The president called them right away, some our closest allies who he had discussed this with prior to the decision and they didn’t like it, you know, they told him they didn’t like it,” he said. “But what they emphasized with him is we respect your decision and that we will continue to work together on those 99 percent of those things we do have agreement on, that are crucial for us to work on.”
“Also, if you define that one percent as Paris – Paris does not equal all of the environmental concerns, all of the climate concerns, and we’ll continue to engage and work with our allies on those as well,” he added.
McMaster described Trump’s “America First” foreign policy as “tough love” toward U.S. allies. The general said there has never been “any doubt” in the minds of NATO allies about Trump’s “commitment” to Article 5.
“It’s a manufactured sort of controversy. You mentioned the president is tough on our allies. You know, he is tough on our allies, but it is tough love, OK? It’s love,” he said. “The alliance is getting stronger because of President Trump’s call on each of our allies to share responsibility.”
McMaster explained that Trump is traveling to Poland this week to “thank a NATO ally for meeting the goal of 2 percent of GDP committed to defense.”
“Those who say the president is weak on alliances, heck, the president is making alliances stronger,” he said.