In an act of sad, accidental genius, whoever wrote these three words into President Donald Trump’s speech Thursday announcing he is pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord has created the perfect mantra for all delusional deniers of truth who still support this president.
“Pittsburgh, Not Paris” is apt because of its sheer falsity. Like Trump supporters themselves, it flies in the face of reality, no matter how many different ways you want to approach it. Starting with the fact that Pittsburgh was a blue city in the last election:
It is a catchy slogan, as a small group of mindless pro-Trump demonstrators happily confirmed at Saturday morning rally at Lafayette Park in front of the White House, where the irony wasn’t lost on everyone else in the living, breathing world:
But historians looking back on this moment just might remember it as the time when Trump fans, echoing the lies promulgated by this administration, Fox News, and other right-wing media outlets, fully embraced their love and admiration of living in a parallel universe where truth no longer matters.
Take Trump’s Orwellian speech on Thursday. Nearly the entire thing was wrong on the facts. According to FactCheck.org, Trump “made more than a few false and misleading claims.”
Here are a few things the lie–detecting site mentioned:
- Trump said the U.S. would be exposed to “massive legal liability if we stay in” the Paris Agreement. But there is no liability mechanism in the Paris Agreement. International environmental law experts tell us that pulling out of the agreement won’t reduce U.S. exposure to liability claims and, in fact, may increase it.
- Trump called China and India the “world’s leading polluters,” referring to carbon emissions. That’s not accurate. China and the U.S. were the top emitters per kiloton in 2015.
- The president also falsely said “nobody even knows where the money [in the Green Climate Fund] is going to.” The fund’s website outlines all of the projects that have been funded.
- Trump said the agreement would cost “close to $3 trillion in lost GDP.” That’s one estimate from a report for a business-funded group that found a much smaller impact under a different scenario. Yet another analysis said the impact of meeting the emissions targets would be “modest.”
- Trump again took credit for job gains, saying the economy has added more than a million private sector jobs since his election. That’s true, but only 493,000 of them were added since he took office.
This is “Freedom Fries” on steroids. But it’s ultimately going to backfire because it’s so far on the fringe that any rational independent who had skeptically supported the president until now will probably bail. Polls suggest that already is starting to happen. And even some die-hard Trump voters are jumping ship.
A survey this week by The Economist/YouGov found Trump’s approval rating has dropped to a staggering 38%, a new low, as Newsweek reported. But what’s noteworthy about the poll is that Trump’s “strong approval,” in other words, those shouting, “Pittsburgh, not Paris” outside the White House, fell 2 percentage points over last week to a paltry 17%. That’s telling.
And it certainly won’t help things that Pittsburgh’s own Mayor Bill Peduto on Friday issued an executive order to ensure the city works with the National Climate Agenda and 81 other cities to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target and advance carbon–neutrality goals.
“For decades Pittsburgh has been rebuilding its economy based on hopes for our people and our future, not on outdated fantasies about our past,” Peduto said when he announced the decree.
And Peduto is scheduled to speak at an anti-Trump rally Saturday in Pittsburgh, which we can expect will be much larger than the paltry pro-Trump demonstration in Lafayette Park.
So yeah, keep on chanting, “Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump fans. Because you’re not fooling anyone but yourself.