'Red Meat To The Base': Trump Scores Points With Supporters By Rejecting Climate Deal

Had President Donald Trump decided to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord, it would have been a slap in the face to the very people who put him in office, says Republican strategist Ford O'Connell.

Instead, standing in the White House Rose Garden on a hot, humid Washington day, the president said the U.S. was "getting out." And he delivered the line that was music to the ears of his political base: "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris."

"This got him some political capital, and it got him political capital with the folks who put him over the top," O'Connell said.

Trump's decision sparked a flurry of condemnation from world leaders, including Canada's Justin Trudeau, as well as from Democrats and environmental groups. Many business leaders, too, including oil giants like Exxon and coal manufacturers, had urged the president to not withdraw from the accord.

But to those in his base, the decision will reap some political rewards, O'Connell said.

Those are the voters in the industrial Midwest, many of them lifelong Democrats, who in the past election shifted to Trump, believing he may be able to stem the hollowing-out of manufacturing jobs in their region.

And to the blue collar workers in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, a global deal calling on the U.S. to lower CO2 emissions is a job killer.

"He made the right move politically because he said he was going to put America first, that means including those folks in the equation, in coal country in the industrial Midwest," O'Connell said. "And he put his money where his mouth was."

Read more from Mark Gollom at CBC News

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