Throughout his time in office, the president has carved his own unique path for himself. Rather than stick with established principles, he has sought to upend them, for better or for worse — and, to be clear, it’s no doubt most often been “for worse.”
One example of this trend is his June 2017 announcement that he intended to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, that landmark agreement that most of the countries in the world have signed onto that dictates a global path forward for addressing climate change. Like in other instances, the president claimed that agreement to be unfairly impacting American industry, and he had his Cabinet secretaries on his side when it came to that position — or so it seemed.
According to a new report, the White House actually demanded on the day that Trump made his decision with regard to the Paris agreement public that Cabinet secretaries issue statements in support of the move. In the wake of that demand, statements were issued like one attributed to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that she had actually had no hand in crafting.
“Her” statement, for which she received scrutiny, praised the president’s “commitment to rolling back the unrealistic and overreaching regulatory actions by the previous Administration,” and it was only after that statement was released that the Education Department’s press secretary Liz Hill said that DeVos “should be made aware of” its existence. The closest the statement had previously gotten to DeVos was Josh Venable, her chief of staff, who approved it ahead of time.
The rushed statement from DeVos that didn’t actually come from the Education Secretary was released after then-White House press aide Kaelan Dorr sent an email reading:
‘Cabinet Communicators!.. We need all Cabinet agencies to prep statements of support for the decision being announced at 3:00pm in the Rose Garden.’
That decision, to be clear, was the president’s announcement that he intended to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. Dorr added in his above cited email that there would be “no exceptions” to his demand.
Other agencies besides the Education Department to issue a statement in the wake of that include the Commerce Department, which put out a statement attributed to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross calling the accord a “terrible deal.”
White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters attributed the rush for statements in support of the move from across agencies to an “interagency policy process” that had underlined Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord in the first place.
In the time since that supposedly interagency cooperation based decision, the president has gotten a lot of backlash for it at home and abroad.
The move is one of many he has taken to earn such backlash, including, most recently, tariffs that he imposed on allies of ours around the world including Canada and the members of the European Union. What effect his actions have on anyone besides himself doesn’t often seem to matter to the president, who is continuing on down his current path without pause.
Featured Image via Alex Wong/ Getty Images