Dec 5, 2018

Reality check: Trump's inaccurate claim on the Paris fuel tax

French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump. Photo: Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images

With France in turmoil after days of violent nationwide protests over the rising cost of fuel, President Trump claimed in a tweet on Tuesday that French President Emmanuel Macron has finally "agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago. The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed" because it increases the price of energy benefits some of the world’s "worst polluters."

"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.”
— Trump continued in another tweet

Reality check: The president's tweet is erroneous as Macron did not back away from the climate agreement as Trump appears to indicate. The planned fuel tax increase, which Macron suspended on Monday, technically has nothing to do with the Paris Agreement that the White House announced its intent to withdraw the U.S. from last year.

Go deeper

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests continued across the country for the sixth day in a row on Sunday, as demonstrators called for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd, EMT Breonna Taylor, jogger Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black Americans who have suffered at the hands of racism and police brutality.

What's happening: Protestors in D.C. broke one police barricade outside the White House on Sunday evening after reportedly demonstrating for several hours. The atmosphere was still largely peaceful as of 6pm ET.

Trump privately scolded, warned by allies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Over the past couple of days, numerous advisers both inside and outside the White House have urged the president to tone down his violent rhetoric, which many worry could escalate racial tensions and hurt him politically.

Behind the scenes: The biggest source of internal concern was Trump's escalatory tweet, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Some advisers said it could damage him severely with independent voters and suburban women.