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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump: U.S. Will Withdraw from Climate Deal. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired June 1, 2017 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. CARLOS CURBELO (R-FL), WANTED U.S. TO STAY IN PARIS CLIMATE PACT: And we also understand that pollution and CO2 emissions don't respect national and even continental boundaries.
[16:30:06] What happens in India, what happens in China, has an impact on all of us. So, I'm very disappointed that we've withdrawn we have left our seat at the table vacant, that we have yielded leadership to countries like China, like Russia. I really hope this administration reconsiders and adopts a responsible environmental climate policy that promotes American innovation, job growth in this country, the jobs of the future, the jobs that young people who are graduating from college need.
So, down here in South Florida, I know there is a lot of disappointment today as a result of this decision.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Why are so many Republicans -- so many of your Republican colleagues not onboard with what you're talking about? Some of them don't seem to -- some of them seem to think it's environment versus jobs. We heard that from the president today. Some of them seem to think that climate change is not a problem.
CURBELO: Jake, regrettably, this issue has been politicized. The polarization is out of control. I really think it dates back to when former Vice President Gore adopted this cause. Back then, a lot of Republicans just assumed that they must be against whatever Mr. Gore was discussing at the time. I don't blame him for having adopted the cause. But I really wish he would have done it with a fellow Republican.
That is what we are trying to do in the Congress right now. My colleague from up the road here, Congressman Ted Deutch, who's a Democrat, and myself, a Republican, we are building a caucus in the House of Representatives. We have 40 members already, 20 Republicans, 20 Democrats. That's the rule. You can only join if you come in with a member of the opposing party.
And we're all making the statement that this issue matters to us. That we understand that our economy depends on a healthy environment and that we are going to fight for sound, reasonable pro-growth environmental policies in the Congress.
If the administration doesn't want to lead on this issue, the Congress must and we're trying to build an environment in the Congress that will allow for that. TAPPER: Twenty-two Republican senators wrote a letter to President
Trump asking for him to take a break to withdraw from the Paris deal. They argued that staying in it puts the U.S. at risk for significant litigation if the U.S. does not meet certain goals.
What is your response to that? A lot of Republicans making that argument that the withdrawal actually will help avert legal trouble for power companies and even for the U.S. government?
CURBELO: Jake, I'm not saying the Paris agreement was perfect. But I think if we wanted to change it -- if we wanted to update it, if we wanted stronger protections for our country, we should have stayed at the table. It's very difficult to modify an agreement and organization from the outside. When you're on the inside, you can really work with the partners and make progress.
And we've kind of seen that on NATO where the president has put some pressure, not using the style that I would use -- on some of our allies there and some of those countries have agreed to invest more in defense budgets. It's good.
But it's really hard to have an impact from the outside. And again, we yielded leadership in this area to the Chinese, to the Russians and others. And we've also put our country on a list together with Bashar al Assad in Syria, Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua. That's not the kind of list I want to be on.
TAPPER: Congressman Carlos Curbelo, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it, sir.
CURBELO: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Let's stick with our panel right now.
He is -- we should point out -- even though he is a Republican in the majority in the House, he is in the minority in taking this issue in his party as seriously as he does.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He is in the minority. But I think that the fact that he was making the arguments speaks to a very real part of the Republican Party and a concern among those who agree with the congressman, that there is a generational problem for the party, and that -- and that actually speaks to some of the Trump coalition in general. But specifically with the Republican Party, that this kind of withdrawal for younger people who are thinking maybe for economic reasons or others that they have a home in the Republican Party -- who think that this is anathema. Why would a Republican president pull out of this agreement?
And that the concern is that this kind of thing will hurt Republicans in keeping young people and recruiting young people into the party. And that this could be -- I interviewed Lindsey Graham when I was filling in for you on Sunday, who talked about that. I mean, he was sort of a lone voice in the presidential race when he was running, saying that the Republicans need to take climate change more seriously. But part of the reason why he and others say that is because of sort
of the broad question of where is and what is this Republican Party standing for?
[16:35:02] And concern that it's going the wrong way.
CHRIS CILLIZZA. CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: And two things. One, Lindsey Graham was a nonfactor in the presidential raise for exactly the point Dana is making.
BASH: Right. No, you're right.
CILLIZZA: Because there is -- the congressman mentioned it. There is a huge amount of tribalism that exists.
You tell me -- if you're -- you meet someone from the street and I ask, are you Republican or Democrat, I can tell what you think on every single issue down the line without -- there will be almost never any overlap which was not the case either in our Congress if or in our country forever.
We've had partisanship before not. We've had not it like this. Donald Trump drives it even more. I do think the -- this is Donald Trump's vision of the country, vision of the world, vision for where the Republican Party should be, which is different than the vision of the Republican Party that, for example, a Paul Ryan had.
Now, we know this on domestic issues but this is different on foreign policy as well. It's different than the vision of Lindsey Graham. It's different than the vision of Ben Sasse. Ben Sasse was asked today -- yesterday, Jake, in one word, describe the Republican Party. He used two but it's telling -- question mark.
Donald Trump is not of the Republican Party. This was a hostile takeover in every regard. He is now remaking the party in his own image. This is not sort of an obvious flow, evolutionally of the party, as Bill Clinton was -- sort of came out of the Carter years. This is not that. This is something different than that.
I don't know -- it seems like most Republican members of Congress are not like the congressman to say you know what I disagree here. Most are not Lindsey Graham or Ben Sasse. Most are willing to say the base likes Donald Trump, I don't really want Donald Trump picking on me, individually, and I'm willing to go along to get along. I don't know what the effects of that will be politically, philosophically, morally for the party as we go into the future. We'll see.
The first mark will really be the 2018 election, what do the American people make of this? Is this -- is the Donald Trump Republican Party -- not Donald Trump -- the Donald Trump Republican Party, Trumpism, what people want?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And what I think will be interesting to watch tomorrow, the job numbers will be interesting that will come out. You talked about whether or not Trump can make good on all these promises. We'll see what the numbers say tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what business does.
And they are clearly at odds with this president, a lot of businesses are, which is odd to say that for Republican administration be odds -- at odds with business.
CILLIZZA: Particularly this one.
CILLIZZA: That was his whole pitch.
HENDERSON: Exactly. And he is a businessman, but he doesn't talk about innovation, right? He is some ways very backward looking businessman, talking about coal. I mean, it's almost like somebody talking let's build book stores. So --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Wait a minute.
TAPPER: I want there -- obviously with --
HENDERSON: And it will be interesting to watch governors, Republican governors, what they do in their states. Are they at odds with this president?
TAPPER: Obviously, with an international treaty that the United States is now withdrawing from, there is a lot of worldwide reaction to the decision and the announcement by President Trump.
I want to go now to CNN's Nic Robertson who is in Scotland. He happens to be outside one of President Trump's golf courses.
And, Nic, this is a major break with every international partner in the world, with the exception of Syria and Nicaragua.
What kind of reaction are you hearing?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's a huge rift, Jake. The pope has described this as a disaster for the planet. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said it's a joyous fact that China and the European Union is still signed up to the Paris climate accord. The British foreign secretary today said that the British government who worked for months trying to convince the Trump White House to stick with the Paris accord.
But the way this is going to be understood here, Jake, and let me be very clear. The way that this is going to be understood here just over the sand dunes behind me is, one of Donald Trump's golf courses, you were mentioning. The Scottish government was trying to put in 11 electricity generating green energy turbines just out to sea, just off the coast from President Trump's golf course there. He has been fighting that through the courts even appearing at a hearing of the Scottish government, stating very clearly and unequivocally that his investment was more important than the concerns he had about how his investment might be impacted by this green energy project, out to sea. That is how his decisions are going to be understood -- someone who
cares more about his money and investment than he does about the environment.
Why is that such a big issue here? The language that President Trump used today to describe why he is doing this and that European and other leaders shouldn't have such a big say in the affairs of the United States -- that this time is going to resonate so deeply. It is going to strike a huge rift in European relations with the United States.
[16:40:03] This goes to the core of the European leaders' concerns about President Trump since he came to office.
At the beginning of this week, the German chancellor said, we have to fight for our own interests ourselves. This is not the way the world was just a week ago, Jake. This is a big and significant rift beyond what he has had to say about climate.
TAPPER: And, Nic, as you mentioned just a minute ago, the E.U., the European Union and China have come together in this alliance when it comes to the environment. And there is a lot of talk, especially by opponents of the president's decision today about how China might be able to capitalize on the United States' withdrawal from the agreement. Tell us more about that.
ROBERTSON: Yes, well, today, the Chinese premier has been visiting Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union, visiting with the German chancellor. And there, the discussion has been about how the European Union can help China develop the technologies that can help it combat some of its most polluting industries.
So, the view from here is that this is the time and moment to help countries like China get their act together and be better on the global stage. This -- the position that President Trump has laid out today will be an anathema to Britain leaders. Come back to Britain. Theresa May has aligned herself so closely with President Trump, she's going to be -- there is going to be an election in Britain in just eight days. This is going to work very badly against her.
And it's going to -- and in that context, any leader in Europe now who sidles up, if you will, to President Trump, to the White House, is going to be looked upon very poorly by their electorate who are pro the Paris agreement. So, you know, the European Union sees this is as an opportunity to help China, not to sort of strike it off the good guy list.
TAPPER: All right. Nic Robertson in Scotland for us, thank you so much.
And, Gloria, I do think President Trump sent a signal in his recent international trip, one where he was reaching out to countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, one where he was giving some heat and chastising European leaders for not contributing enough for -- into the defense budget when it came to NATO agreements. That might continue. That dynamic of alliances with petroleum states like Saudi Arabia and Europe as you just heard from Nic, very upset with President Trump.
BORGER: Right. Well, and I think we heard it in the speech today where the president sort of whacked NATO members without saying NATO, you know, people who are not contributing their fair shares, countries that are not contributing their fair share.
He sees himself as the guardian of the American taxpayers to a great degree. And he doesn't want to spend one extra penny that he doesn't believe he should spend -- which is how he ran the Trump Organization. I mean, he is kind of famous for saying to lawyers, you didn't do your job, I'm only going to pay you 30 percent of what I owe you because that's all you -- that's all you deserve.
I think we heard that today in his speech. I think we saw it in Europe. I think these are shifting alliances. We're not talking about human rights when we're in Saudi Arabia.
So, I do think that, you know, it's a different -- it's a different world with this president. And again, it's a different world from other Republicans. To Chris's point, this is -- this is a Trump world here. And there are lots of Republicans and, Steve, you know this more than -- better than I do, who don't -- who don't sign on to this. But he is the president.
MOORE: So, let me say something about Europe, because this is not a story that's well-known. But ten years ago, the United States and Europe took very different approaches on energy. We went into the shale oil and gas revolution. German, France and, Italy, Spain, all those countries went into the great energy sources that you're talking about. They went to wind, they went to solar.
Look at what's happened today -- wait, let me finish my point. Today, United States electricity prices are half to a third of what they are in Europe. Europe's green energy -- and Europe is moving away from solar and wind because it's been so expensive -- they're actually losing factories, Germany to the United States, because we have lower energy costs.
One of the reasons Europe wants us all in is because they can't compete with us if you're using much cheaper energy than they are. This would kind of level the playing field and that would cost American jobs.
I mean, you said those are just facts. Their costs to are two to three times higher than ours.
JONES: That has to deal with taxation -- hold on a second.
MOORE: We're talking about retail prices.
JONES: You're saying stuff just not true, and I got want stuff I want to say that actually is true.
MOORE: Their electrically prices are double to three times -- JONES: What? You're talking about Germany? The reason that you have
the cost structure you have in Germany is because they're trying to move away from nuclear power. It has nothing to do with solar and wind.
I don't want to talk about that. Listen, let's talk about the politics, just for a second.
[16:45:00] VAN JONES, GREEN JOBS ADVISER UNDER OBAMA: - structure you have in Germany is because they're trying to move away from nuclear power has nothing to do with solar and wind. I don't want to talk about that. Listen, let's talk about the politics, just for a second. Let me talking policy online. I want to talk about politics as well. The Democrats, how do the Democrats get in this situation where manufacturing jobs were growing under Obama? Somebody like this comes out says, oh my god the Democrats were terrible for industry. They hate industry. Obama grew -
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: It was the weakest economy in 40 years.
JONES: Hold - well, hold on a second.
JONES: Yes, because you had a great recession. Listen, whenever you have a financial collapse as opposed to normal recession you know this, it's going to be slower coming back. But let me just talk about -
MOORE: l wasn't slower under Reagan, it was faster.
JONES: It wasn't a financial collapse.
MOORE: It was a collapse, we had 15 percent inflation.
JONES: Economic - I don't want - college here.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: Can we stay focus on - we stay focused on - we stay focused on the Paris accord.
JONES: OK. Thank you. So here is the thing. How do the Democrats wind up in this situation where someone like this could come on and say the Democrats are bad for industry and manufacturing? They were growing manufacturing jobs under Obama and unbroken way. The actual design cap and trade program the President tried to pass would have actually grown jobs. But guess what, you have Democrats looking like we care about polar bears and don't care about workers. Now, that is political malpractice on the part of the Democrats on this and Trump is taking advantage of that. CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Is the -
is the indictment to your point - Joe Biden - now it's easy in hindsight but Joe Biden's indictment of the campaign I thought was interesting particularly given the fact that I think he doesn't want to not say he's not going to run in 2020. His indictment in the campaign was, this is the first campaign in modern history that Democrats haven't had a message for the people who make a total of $65,000. The manufacturing industry that we left that out that they became the national party that Republicans character them as liberals, they want to raise taxes. They think we got to save the myna bird.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: But it's also - I mean, the first campaign we had in history about building a wall, about banning Muslims,
CILLIZZA: Yes. No question.
HENDERSON: - about deporting illegal immigrants. So that's sort of the nationalistic language, I think, you know, were very much resonated with a certain segment of the population. And that's - I don't think we should ignore that part of Donald Trump's message.
CILLIZZA: The only argument - the only argument I make against that - I don't disagree at all. Donald Trump's messaging, I don't even know if you could say it was conservative but in terms of the ideological spectrum, it was way over -
DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Popular.
CILLIZZA: Right. But with certainly like beyond what George Bush would say,
CILLIZZA: - what Mitt Romney said. I mean he was outside of the sort of traditional mainstream of Republican thought which I think appealed to them. What I would say is if you look at the messaging of Hillary Clinton, the way in which she - (INAUDIBLE) the campaign - but the way she allowed the national Democratic message to be was at least it was viewed by the average person in Michigan or Pennsylvania. These are where she lost. I mean she lost the election, the places we're talking about - was way over here, was way over here. Steve, you had way over here versus way over here, people, I think, throw their hands up and said I just want something different. There's a lot of space to -
Her policies were better and rhetoric was better.
TAPPER: I want to take this opportunity now that I got a word into the - to squeeze in a quick break. We'll be right back with much more debate and discussion about this important day. Stay with us.
[16:50:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper. I want to bring in CNN Rene Marsh right now. We're all covering President Trump's announcement of - that he is going to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. Rene we just received a joint letter from several mayors across the United States who are responding to President Trump's announcement. What are they saying?
RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, you know, the environment is one of these issues that evokes a lot of passion and we're seeing that in this letter here. Over 50 mayors in cities across the country writing this open letter, they essentially are saying if the President isn't going to keep up with the Paris Accord, they will. I'm reading a portion here. It says quote, "we will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degree Celsius target and work together to create the 21st-century clean energy economy. They mentioned this 1.5 degree Celsius target. Of course a lot of the action as far as the Paris Agreement is concerned and surrounds this idea of preventing the earth from warming another 2 degrees Celsius. So that's what they're referring to there.
But Jake, I do want to point out with all this discussion about the President's big announcement today, a little bit on the timeline of all this. Of course, once we say that we're out or the President says that we're out, technically we're out but not formally. The President is not allowed to, according to the agreement to submit a letter to formally start this process of withdrawing until November of 2019. And then the United States would not be able to officially withdraw until November 2020. And the cherry on top here really is that November 2020, the time when we're allowed to officially pull out, would be about one day after election day in 2020. So you can bet this is going to be a pretty major election year issue when we talk about the climate.
TAPPER: All right. Rene Marsh, thank you so much. We are - we're getting more reaction from around the world to President Trump announcing the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Accord. Take a look at the cover of the German weekly magazine, Der Spiegel. It's a tweet I believe, "America first earth last," it says. And then this evening the Paris City Hall was glowing green to reaffirm that city's support for the climate agreement. Let's come back with our panel. It is hard to imagine that this will be - especially since the withdrawal date would be November 2020, that this is going to be the last time we have debates like these or hear debates like these. And Dana it seems clear that President Trump will cast this in very stark terms, jobs versus redistribution of wealth to poorer countries.
[16:55:11] BASH: No question. And it was very clear in the way that he gave his speech, as you said so well Gloria, completely about the economy, very little to nothing about the environment. That is going to be his message. And the question is, whether or not the Democrats that Van has been talking about the past hour or so are going to figure out a way to penetrate that and to combat that. And to appeal to the people who were for generations Democrats in coal country, were Democrats in other places of this country who feel left behind and are - and eat up the message they heard from the Rose Garden from the President.
TAPPER: Well, I think, Chris, there was an interesting article today I think by Jesse Ferguson but I'm not sure, about how instead of looking to these Obama turned Trump voters that what Republicans - I mean - sorry - what Democrats should be doing is looking more at Romney turned Hillary voters. That those people Republicans live in the suburbs of the cities where the mayors just wrote that letter, that that might be riper picking because we're in the middle of a political realignment.
CILLIZZA: Northern Virginia, let's just take as example because it's close. You know, Frank Wolf represented a district that touched on Northern Virginia, had Loudoun County in it. Some of these ex-urban suburb and really growing counties very Republican at one point moving more toward Democrats because of this is not the Trump Republican. This is the Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush certainly kind of Republican. It's not a Donald Trump Republican. I think we were - we're so fixated on the map from 2000 to 2006, right, closely divided America. And you look at it and you say well the 2016 map was essentially a validation of that, right? The costs for Democrats, the center of the country for Republicans, true, but to your point Jake, if you look county by county even - or if you look even nerdier precinct by predict. What you see is that Donald Trump Is over performing Mitt Romney by 15, 20 points in places and - which is more rural, older whiter, and drastically underperforming Mitt Romney in places like Mclean and Falls Church Virginia.
BASH: The city - right, city parts of the country is exactly what got Hillary Clinton and Democrats in trouble.
CILLIZZA: And in some ways - in some ways, he was widely mocked for at the time, I don't think he implemented it correctly. But remember when Howard Dean was the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The 50 state (INAUDIBLE) is not incorrect in that -
I want to say something. I don't think that Democrats should take seriously the pain and the in the Rust Belt because they want to convert some votes.
JONES: I don't care who they vote for. I don't care who they vote for. They can vote for whoever they want for. You can't live in a country where you just have sacrifice zones, whether you talking about south central or Appalachia or the Rust Belt and no political party stands up for them respectively. And so, it's not about competing for votes. At a certain point, my problem with the Democrats allow happen. If you go on the Web site Hillary's Web site, way down there is a bunch of good policies for you but the heart wasn't there for the folks who are hurting. I don't care if they vote for you. You got to talk to them.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But that's the challenge. I mean, they have to learn how to talk about environmental policy in a different way, from the heart. And they didn't - and whether it's younger voters or Dana pointed out earlier, because younger voters care about this a great deal and they weren't thrilled with Hillary Clinton if you'll - if you'll recall. But it's also telling people, look, this is what we have to do as a country. Maybe we have to change. Maybe we have to do some things differently. We want to save your jobs but this is where we are headed in the future. And I want to be a President of the future and I want you to be a part of that. That's what the Democrats have to figure out this in time. I mean, far be it for me to -
MOORE: And the Republican message has to be that - the one the EPA administrator just said which is we can grow this economy and we can keep our environment safe and in fact, we have done that over the last ten years. We've used you know, more fossil fuels but reducing our carbon emissions. So this economy versus environment tradeoff is a fiction. We - through growth, we spend more money in reducing our pollutions and that's a good Republican message.
TAPPER: So do you think -
MOORE: When you're talking about by the way, when you talk about this realignment, what you're really talking about is Democrats become of the party of the elites and the - and the Republican Party becomes the class - the class - the party of the working class.
CILLIZZA: It's certainly - it's certainly the danger. Though I would say - I would say we've spent the whole 2000s debating the suburbs. And I do think the suburbs so matter. Mitt Romney ran so much strong on the suburbs than Donald Trump. Donald Trump still won the electorate. I mean, I'm not arguing that that doesn't matter.
TAPPER: Great. Thanks everyone for being here. Really appreciate it. That's it for THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer, he's in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM: Happening now, breaking news, going it alone.