According to Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, President Trump accepts the climate is changing and carbon emissions are partly to blame. She will confirm this on CNN’s “State of the Union,” which airs Sunday. She did not say what caused this complete reversal to his previous assertions. In fact, dating back to 2012, he tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” The president, long an opponent of climate change, promised during his campaign to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and on June 1, 2017, he made good on that campaign promise.
You may wonder, If the president believes that human pollution is one of the reasons for global warming, why did he withdraw from the Paris climate accord? The president asserted his reasons during his announcement in the Rose Garden at the White House. If this were just a political issue, you could make a case that the president has the right to exercise his political judgement. However, it is not just a political issue. Climate change evidence abounds. For example, NASA documents the evidence and makes a strong case that humans are partly to blame, “Humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration (i.e., a greenhouse gas that traps the Earth’s heat) by more than a third since the Industrial Revolution began.” In addition, according to USA Today’s fact checking the reasons the president asserted to withdraw from the Paris climate accord have little merit or are false.
Although, the president left open the possibility to renegotiate our entry into the Paris climate accord or to replace it with one more favorable to the United States, many business and world leaders remain critical and are rejecting that olive branch.
Where does this leave us? Nikki Haley asserts President Trump accepts the climate is changing and carbon emissions are partly to blame, but his actions tell a different story. His rhetoric may be changing, but his actions remain consistent with his campaign pledge. The president is hard to understand, let alone predict, due to inconsistencies in his rhetoric and actions. Here are some examples:
· Throughout his presidential campaign, he accused China of currency manipulation that he said was undermining our economy, stealing our jobs and driving up the U.S. trade deficit, but now claims China dropped the manipulative practice years ago.
· Just prior to his 2016 entry into the presidential campaign, he cited the Export-Import Bank as a wasteful example of corporate welfare, bankrolling America’s biggest corporations with cut-rate loan subsidies to sell their products overseas. Now, according to The Wall Street Journal he asserts, “lots of small companies are really helped” and that is a good thing.
· Throughout his presidential campaign, he attacked NATO as a failed organization, calling it “obsolete.” Although his rhetoric has softened, in his recent trip abroad he scolded NATO allies for not paying their fair share. This left many with a question. Is NATO obsolete or is it about NATO’s financial structure?
· Throughout his presidential campaign, he appeared to want a closer relationship with Russia, which is currently haunting his presidency. Now, after Russia stepped-up its military role in Syria in support of dictator and war criminal Bashar Assad, and his lethal gas attacks on Syrian civilians, his position on Russia has hardened.
There are other examples, but the above four make a point. President Trump’s positions have been inconsistent. This inconsistency calls his judgement into question and appears to be one of the driving factors in his low approval rating, hovering now below 40% in some polls.
It is not wrong for a presidential candidate to change views or even a president to change views, as new information becomes available. However, President Trump appears to have taken this to a completely new level.