Scoring points with the Euro weenies.
A handful of Democratic governors and scores of other lawmakers and mayors are mounting an insurgency at the United Nations climate conference here, orchestrating a highly choreographed campaign to persuade world leaders that President Donald Trump doesn’t speak for the United States on climate change.
Several Democratic U.S. senators began meeting last week with officials from other countries, seeking to minimize Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Meanwhile, the governors of California, Virginia, Oregon and Washington — along with mayors from throughout the nation — were expected to touch off a blitz of public appearances at the conference as the meeting enters its final week.
“We are still in!” Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland told cheering activists Saturday at a pavilion set up just outside the official meeting zone, a de facto headquarters for the opposition. “I want to make it clear: The federal government is not just the president of the United States.”
The Democrats’ diplomacy — part lobbying, part public relations — comes amid widespread international concern about Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris accord. War-torn Syria announced last week that it would join the agreement, leaving the United States — if it goes through with its withdrawal — as the only country in the world outside of the pact.
On Saturday, Democratic politicians, climate activists and like-minded business interests sought to present the United States as a country divorced from its president. Speakers repeated the slogan, “We are still in,” a message splayed across an electronic ticker and on buttons at the unofficial U.S. pavilion. The pavilion’s estimated $235,000 cost was being covered by a coalition including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer.
Steyer, who is spending millions of dollars on a national television ad campaign calling for Trump’s impeachment, was expected to outline his case for Trump’s ouster in a speech here Sunday.
While pavilion organizers plied guests with big-name speakers and free beer and wine, a subtler campaign was unfolding inside the conference halls. Starting late last week, a small delegation of U.S. senators, including Cardin, Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) — began meeting with officials from other countries in an effort to assuage nerves about Trump. Schatz said he and other lawmakers met with delegations from India and Japan and were planning to meet with representatives of the European Union, Mexico, Indonesia and Canada.
The senators argued Trump could not quickly undo eight years of Obama-era climate policies or significantly affect state-level efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.