Thursday, President Donald Trump addressed the world from the Rose Garden to announce that the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, an international treaty in which 195 countries pledged to reduce their carbon emissions.
"I am fighting every day for the great people of this country," he said. "Therefore, in order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord."
Throughout his speech Trump emphasized that the treaty was unfair to American workers—that it undermines our livelihoods and the American economy by pressuring manufacturers to adhere to stringent environmental regulations. He was doing this, he said, for us.
The problem is Americans didn't want to leave.
In a nationally representative survey, Yale University found that the majority of the American people—69 percent of registered voters—wanted the country to remain a part of the Paris Climate Agreement. This includes about half of Trump's voter base.
In a separate survey by the Pew Research Center, there was partisan divide regarding the importance of climate change. But even then, 50 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats said we should be working to limit greenhouse emissions.
The Paris Agreement isn't perfect: It has no repercussions for countries that don't live up to their promises. And the legislation was not approved by the Senate when former President Obama signed the treaty. But saying that American workers—the ones who pay the taxes, go to the polling booths, and apply for those manufacturing jobs, want out of it is inaccurate and irresponsible.
Meanwhile, the jobs that Trump is promising us will not come back because we withdrew from the agreement. There are far more jobs in renewable energy than coal, and factories will not move to other countries to skirt regulations if those very countries are attempting to bring down their own emissions.
Once again, Trump is speaking out on behalf of people who don't exist. And while we wait for answers, our relationship with allied countries, and our commitment to the future, is at stake.
Something weird happened on a White House conference call today. A reporter asked White House officials: "Does the president believe in climate change?" And the next thing I knew, my call was cut off.