Trump Calls Himself an ‘Environmentalist,’ Ignoring His Record on Protecting the Environment

Trump Calls Himself an ‘Environmentalist,’ Ignoring His Record on Protecting the Environment

President Trump spent the last couple of minutes of his closing press conference at the G7 summit in France bragging that he is “an environmentalist” who seeks to make America a less-polluted place:

“So Josh, in a nutshell, I want the cleanest water on Earth. I want the cleanest air on and that’s what we’re doing. And I’m an environmentalist. A lot of people don’t understand that.”

This statement might be a surprise to the environment, to say nothing of environmentalists, given Trump’s track record. His administration has engaged in a huge rollback of environmental regulations and rules — 83 of them, by The New York Times’ count earlier this summer — and has appointed lobbyists and executives from the oil and gas and other heavy polluting industries to high-level positions at governent regulators such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

Here is just a small sampling of the environmental rules the Trump administration has gutted:

  • Loosened limits on allowable pollution emitted by new power plants and expansions.
  • Proposed repealing the Clean Power Plan and allowing each individual state to set its own standards.
  • Tried to open up most of America’s coastal waters to offshore drilling for gas and oil.
  • Weakened the Endangered Species Act.
  • Revoked a rule that coal companies cannot dump mining debris into streams that often serve as a source of clean water for nearby communities.

All of these moves and more will not help Trump reach his goal of America having the cleanest air and water on the planet, but somehow he manages to keep saying this without anyone telling him. Or, if they tell him, he does not care.

Trump called himself an environmentalist — with a straight face — just a couple of days after it was reported that his administration is ignoring Native American input as it opens a huge swath of the Bears Ears National Monument to development and mining, a week after he criticized car companies for manufacturing vehicles to meet more stringent enviornmental standards than his administration proposed, and only hours after he skipped out on a meeting with other G7 leaders on the climate change crisis.

Anyway, he’s an environmentalist.


Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.