Among the seventeen candidates who ran in the Republican primaries, Lindsey Graham was an outlier on climate change. Unlike the eventual winner, Graham was happy to say climate change was real and man-made. Unlike most other candidates, Graham even said he would support measures to curb global warming. Graham has also been more willing than most elected Republican officials to challenge Trump on foreign policy issues.
So what was Graham’s response to Trump’s announcement that he would move to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement? This tweet:
This weak-sauce response illustrates why the entire Republican Party bears responsibility for this reckless, cynical move. Graham is nearly the best Republican on climate, and he’s not willing to challenge Trump. Furthermore, he peddles the fiction that Trump intends to “re-enter” the accord once the U.S. gets a “better deal.” This simply isn’t going to happen: The world is moving on, and the U.S. now enjoys the distinction of being a pariah state on this crucial global issue.
Trump is able to withdraw from Paris because his party is made up either of climate change deniers or cowards, like Graham, who claim to believe in climate change but are willing to appease deniers. Trump’s disastrous move is an indictment not only of his presidency, but also the party that has enabled and empowered him every step of the way.