Trump Is Shutting Up About Coal. It’s Because He Needs Florida.

President Donald Trump loves to tout his support of “beautiful, clean coal.” Or at least he used to. He didn’t mention it once during his speech on the administration’s environmental record Monday.

In the speech Trump gave to highlight his environmental record, he finally acknowledged climate change, although not directly. The president talked about emissions — but never mentioned the words “climate change.” The address reportedly came after some of his close advisers worried the president’s record on the environment would hurt his shot at re-election.

Not only have GOP voters become increasingly invested in solutions to climate change, but global warming and climate action have impacted states that Trump hopes to carry in 2020. He made clear, too, that he’ll focus his efforts on one in particular.

“In some ways you could be arguing that Trump’s re-election campaign is really a Florida-first strategy,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican campaign strategist who worked on the McCain-Palin campaign. “It’s the crown jewel of his entire electoral strategy.

“Essentially when you look at the voters, he needs to recapture to win the White House in 2020 — seniors, working class whites, Cubans, conservative hispanics, and some suburban females,” O’Connell added, “Guess where they all are located?”

During his speech, Trump spoke alongside Bruce Hrobak, the owner of a bait-and-tackle shop in Port St. Lucie, Florida, who claimed that Trump’s policies to curb red tides — toxic algae blooms off the Florida coast — had saved his business. Fertilizer runoff catalyzes the blooms, but warmer waters that come with a warmer climate make them harder to reign in. In March, Trump reversed course and announced his support to fund restoration of the Everglades that would help.

Read more from Alex Lubben at Vice News

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Analysis & Political Strategy