President Trump took to Twitter this afternoon and lashed out at France’s President Emmanuel Macron in a pathetic show of passive aggression, falsely conflating the recent protests over planned fuel tax hikes with his own disgraceful decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change treaty.
The wildly unpopular French president admitted defeat this morning after three weeks of intense and often violent protests throughout the country that began in response to his attempt to raise taxes on fuel but became a general outpouring of frustration against him and his policies, the stagnant economy, his tax cuts for the wealthy and his cuts to public benefits.
Trump’s tweets, however, attempts to use the decision to delay the fuel tax hike as an excuse to vindicate his appalling decision to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate change agreement, putting words in Macron’s mouth and using his decision to smear the agreement that Macron has vowed to implement.
….in the world. I want clean air and clean water and have been making great strides in improving America’s environment. But American taxpayers – and American workers – shouldn’t pay to clean up others countries’ pollution.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2018
His assertion that the Paris agreement punishes “responsible” countries, like the United States, while “whitewashing” polluters is absolute nonsense, considering that the United States is the world’s second-largest carbon polluter, with only China ahead of us — and they only double our emissions with quadruple the population size. Our energy corporations helped conceal knowledge of climate change from the world for decades and actively oppose all efforts to shift away from unsustainable fossil fuels. We are the furthest from a “responsible” country that any country could possibly be.
If Trump had bothered to do the most basic research, he would have learned that the scenes of burning cars and vandalized buildings were partly in response to Macron’s decision to slash taxes for the wealthiest 10% of French people and for major corporations while cutting public benefits and laying off hundreds of thousands of civil servants.
Sound like anyone we know?
It’s not just the tax hikes that people were furious about, it was that Macron was trying to sell the tax as a green policy but only earmarked $7.2 billion of the $34 billion projected revenue on “environmental measures.”
The tax hits middle-class rural people harder than most, appropriating a segment of what little wealth they have in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and big business. The French, quite reasonably, believe this is monstrously unjust and aren’t afraid to take to the streets and show their leader how they feel about it.
Transitioning to clean energy and stopping climate change is not going to be an easy or peaceful process, but there has to be a better way to go about it than this. Macron deserves to lose his job for attempting to exploit fears about climate change to greenwash austerity measures on behalf of the rich, and for Trump to use this to try to excuse his own role in exacerbating the climate crisis is so cynically opportunistic that it makes your head spin.