The pres­i­dent keeps a solemn prom­ise to put Amer­ica first

The Washington Times Daily - - COMMENTARY - BY WES­LEY PRUDEN Wes­ley Pruden is ed­i­tor in chief emer­i­tus of The Times.

Un­cle Sugar doesn’t live here any more, and he didn’t leave a for­ward­ing ad­dress. This is the mes­sage, spo­ken loud and clear by Don­ald Trump Thurs­day in the White House Rose Gar­den, and it’s just now get­ting through to the easy rid­ers out there.

“As of to­day,” he said, “the United States will cease all im­ple­men­ta­tion of the non-bind­ing Paris ac­cord and the dra­co­nian fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic bur­dens the agree­ment im­poses on our coun­try. We’re get­ting out but we’ll start to ne­go­ti­ate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”

This was ex­actly what the 196 sign­ers needed to hear, and the pres­i­dent told them with­out heat, bom­bast or blather. Just the facts, ma’am, and that means Madame Merkel. Be­fore all the news from Wash­ing­ton was in, Madame Merkel, with France and Italy tag­ging along in the lady’s con­sid­er­able wake, said in haughty voice that the Paris ac­cord “will not be rene­go­ti­ated.” So the lady says, sub­ject to invoking the fem­i­nine priv­i­lege of chang­ing her mind.

The pres­i­dent thus makes good on one of his most im­por­tant cam­paign prom­ises, mock­ing the holy writ of global warm­ing, or “cli­mate change” as it’s called now be­cause the globe re­fuses to warm as promised and all the dead po­lar bears are still not dead and the ocean that was sup­posed to have in­un­dated the fi­nan­cial dis­trict of Lower Man­hat­tan by now, has still not obeyed Al Gore.

The pres­i­dent sounds like the rea­son­able one now. “In or­der to ful­fill my solemn duty to pro­tect Amer­ica and its cit­i­zens, the United States will with­draw from the Paris ac­cord for an en­tirely new trans­ac­tion on terms that are fair to the United States.” He iden­ti­fied sev­eral sec­tors of the Amer­i­can econ­omy that would lose jobs and pay­checks if the United States stays in the ac­cord — 2.7 mil­lion jobs by 2025. Fair is fair, af­ter all, even for Un­cle Sugar.

This puts a large dent in Barack Obama’s legacy, about which he can’t stop talk­ing. He was first in line to cavil Thurs­day, pre­sum­ably cav­il­ing from his walled man­sion be­hind a moat of se­cu­rity a quar­ter of a mile long, where he leads what he imag­ines the U.S. Gov­ern­ment in more or less per­ma­nent ex­ile, or at least un­til he gets bored with ex­ile and goes home, like pres­i­dents be­fore him, and comes to term with the fact that his day is done.

“The na­tions that re­main in the Paris Agree­ment will be the na­tions that reap the ben­e­fits in jobs and in­dus­tries cre­ated,” he said, try­ing to re­mem­ber how to af­fect a pres­i­den­tial tone. “I be­lieve the United States of Amer­ica should be at the front of the pack. But even in the ab­sence of Amer­i­can lead­er­ship, even as this ad­min­is­tra­tion joins a small hand­ful of na­tions that re­ject the fu­ture, I’m con­fi­dent that our states, cities and busi­nesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help pro­tect for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions the one planet we’ve got.” This was a stun­ning ex­er­cise in dis­re­spect for the one pres­i­dent we cur­rently have, and for the of­fice as well.

Pitts­burgh and Peo­ria with a for­eign pol­icy. Who knew? But sev­eral cities with Demo­cratic ad­min­is­tra­tions have vowed to re­main in the Paris ac­cord, as if they could. Sev­eral ty­coons of fi­nance and in­dus­try seem to re­gard their com­pa­nies as sov­er­eign, too, and were quick to take the pres­i­dent to task. It seems not to have oc­curred to these cities and ty­coons that if they want to clean up their act and elim­i­nate pol­lu­tion, no­body, least of all Don­ald Trump, will stop them.

Mr. Trump’s crit­ics are ea­ger now to play holier than thou — even the pope, who had said ear­lier that if Mr. Trump with­drew from Paris the Vat­i­can would take it as “a slap in the face.” Leonardo DiCaprio was dis­ap­pointed, too, be­cause he had ear­lier urged Mr. Trump to “make the moral po­si­tion.” Moral tute­lage from the Vat­i­can and Hol­ly­wood on the very same day. Reli­gios­ity reigns, if only for the day.

But back where it counts, the pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion won praise from Repub­li­cans in Congress. “I ap­plaud Pres­i­dent Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion for deal­ing with yet another blow to the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s as­sault on do­mes­tic en­ergy pro­duc­tion and jobs.” Sen. John Bar­rasso of Wy­oming, chair­man of the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on the En­vi­ron­ment, ob­served that “the Paris cli­mate agree­ment set un­work­able tar­gets that put Amer­ica at a com­pet­i­tive dis­ad­van­tage.”

What­ever new agree­ment Pres­i­dent Trump can make will be a treaty, and must, as the Con­sti­tu­tion makes clear, be rat­i­fied by the Se­nate. Barack Obama, the fa­mous pro­fes­sor of con­sti­tu­tional law, wouldn’t do that be­cause he knew that the Paris agree­ment would never have made it through the Se­nate. Cli­mate does change some­times. Af­ter days of rain, Thurs­day was a sunny day in Wash­ing­ton.


Sen. Mitch McCon­nell

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