Sep 16, 2017

Trump's position on the Paris accord hasn't changed

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

There's a lot of noise surrounding a WSJ story today saying the Trump administration has changed its mind on the Paris climate accord and isn't pulling out. The White House responded that there has been "no change" in the position on Paris and that the U.S. is "withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country."

Trump's position announced in June was the U.S. is bailing but willing to renegotiate. Remember it actually takes several years to formally withdraw.

Our thought bubble: Nobody has really taken this "renegotiation" idea especially seriously. Why people are surprised today is that it wasn't believed the administration was serious about really engaging on this at all. It is still a very big question how genuine their efforts are, but today's news represents the next stage regarding what Trump already said in June he was willing to do. He said the U.S. is going to withdraw unless it can get a better deal.

Bottom line: The basic question here is whether the U.S. might be cracking the door open slightly to a more serious willingness to stay in with a softened commitment.

Go deeper: What we've written before about the Trump administration's climate outreach.

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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.