- President Donald Trump touted America's environmental leadership in an address on Monday that highlighted his administration's work on improving air and water quality, reducing carbon emissions and cleaning hazardous waste sites.
- Trump also slammed the proposed Green New Deal, saying it is "not affordable" and will hurt minority communities. He said he will "not stand for it," and will ensure his administration protects the environment and the economy. Secretary Rick Perry echoed this sentiment, noting, "[F]or too long, there's been this conventional wisdom that you've got to choose between economic growth and environmental protection. That's a false choice."
- "We have only one America. We have only one planet. That's why, every day of my presidency, we will fight for a cleaner environment and a better quality of life for every one of our great citizens," Trump said.
Throughout his hour-long speech, Trump praised the work of administrators, governors and a number of senators, however one class of government was missing: mayors. Aside from quick mentions of high-profile environmental projects occurring on the local level, mayors and local environmental leadership was not mentioned.
The address also failed to mention an important term that has shaped many of the discourse around environmental stewardship today: climate change. In an interview with CBS, energy and climate reporter Amy Harder said that while Trump mentions issues like "catastrophic wildfires," he does not link those issues back to climate change in an effort to "bury" the subject.
Some environmental groups such as Sierra Club have criticized Trump's environmental address, calling it "greenhouse gaslighting." A spokesman for the Environmental Working Group called Trump's speech an "utter fantasy," according to Reuters.
In a fact-checking analysis, CNN found many of the statements made by Trump were truthful, but lacked context. Trump's claims that the U.S. is ranked No. 1 globally in access to clean drinking water is correct, while his claims that the country's energy-related carbon emissions have declined more than any other country since 2000 are also true, to an extent. CNN noted that the U.S. is still the second-largest producer of carbon emissions, and CO2 levels actually increased from 2017 to 2018.
Trump tied his mentions of world rankings back to his decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. "Every single one of the signatories to the Paris Climate Accord lags behind America in overall emissions reductions. Who would think that is possible?" he said.
Despite the federal government's criticism of the accord, mayors across the U.S. are not budging on their commitment. More than 400 U.S. mayors have committed to "build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks," regardless of the federal government's actions.