Aside from Donald Trump’s incoherent midnight tweet, his administration’s plan to slash birth control coverage for millions of American women, and the ongoing controversy surrounding the president’s ties to Russia, the news with the most far-reaching consequences was the reporting on Wednesday that the president is likely to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord – a historic, 195-nation agreement reached in 2015 to foster a global effort to fight climate change.
According to a report from The Hill, though, the leak from the administration that Trump will pull the U.S. out of the deal has trigger chaos and infighting inside the White House – and even some indications that the president could back down.
More from the report:
An initial story in Axios, attributed to two sources close to the decision, was immediately contradicted by other administration sources who said Trump was leaning toward pulling out of the deal but has made no final decision.
One unnamed official told the Associated Press there may be “caveats” in Trump’s language withdrawing from the deal.
Some sources close to the White House suggested those talking to Axios were opponents of the Paris deal, like chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who were seeking to box the president in by making it more difficult to not exit the deal.
Others speculated the leak came from those who want to remain in the pact, such as senior advisers Jared Kushner or Gary Cohn, in an attempt to whip up opposition to leaving it.
In other words, the left hand of the Trump administration has no idea what its right hand is doing – even as Trump appears to be on the verge of making his final decision on the deal.
Not even those who work with the president know what the ultimate decision will be, despite the news today that Trump plans to pull out of the agreement – but that could be good news for those who believe the U.S. should remain in the accord.
The fact that the backlash to the news has been swift and widespread – and even some in the administration appear to be pushing Trump to stay in the deal – could signal that Trump may surprise the world and back away or at least walk back his pledge to “cancel” the agreement.
But Americans who care about climate change shouldn’t get their hopes up. This is a president who has claimed global warming is a Chinese-manufactured hoax, after all.
If Trump does, in fact, pull the U.S. out of the pact, the United States will join the only two other non-signatories in rejecting the landmark agreement: Syria and Nicaragua.