The blazing sun, the heat, the weather…Ksenija Pavlovic journals on a historic Paris Climate Agreement pullout in the Rose Garden.
After traveling for fifteen hours by plane, from the South of France to Washington D.C. I found myself in front of the White House just in time for the historic Paris Climate Agreement announcement by President Donald J. Trump. As I was entering the White House estate, the Secret Service Agent told me to hold my card over a number 5 and I looked at him flatly. “You have been here before, you know how to do it”, he told me as an encouragement over the jet lag I was having.
Once you cross the Ocean, you feel like you are in America for the first time. And my entering the doors of the White House from the two weeks of red carpets premieres in the finest world of cinema was a blockbuster in itself.
Sometime before 2 pm the press corps were gathering in the briefing room. As I was entering the room, I saw CNN’s Jim Acosta for the first time after the Trump press conference in March. We were seated next to each other. I love Jim’s work because he is a journalist of stamina and integrity. Now, it is almost time for the pre-setup and I am heading to the Rose Garden.
The Jazz band is awaiting us. It’s the New York vibe suddenly, but no one is serving the drinks so we are taking our seats. The TV networks are in the first row, so I take the first chair in the second in the middle of the Rose Garden. The sun is heating up and not one of us has sunscreen or a hat. The band is playing Summertime under the burning White House Sun. POTUS is just about to come out to deliver the news that we are pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The presenters of the major TV networks in front of me are already making brief live hits feeding the audience with information: “ Paris Climate Agreement is a bad deal for America”. As the news presenters stand next to each other talking at the same time to members of the audience, I see that only the Fox News presenter is trying to explain Trump’s perspective. The fiery sun is burning everything down as if we are all suddenly transported in the Albert Camus’ masterpiece L’Étranger. The blazing sun, the heat, the weather…on the day of the historic pull out of the Paris Accord Agreement.
At 3:29 PM EDT, VP Pence took to the podium and gave brief introductory comments before introducing POTUS. Seated in the front row are Pence, Priebus, Bannon, McMaster, and other top White House officials. The words of President Trump are echoing the Rose Garden: “The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production…”
I want to take a picture of POTUS but my phone is showing an emergency message “iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it”, so I am getting ready to ask the President if he believes that climate change is real?
At the same time, POTUS is talking about America first, “ I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburg not Paris”, he insists. He is appealing to his base, it is about his voting body, as clearly, Trump is already campaigning for his second term. We all know about America First, domestically, Mr.President, but how about America First globally?
“It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — along with many, many other locations within our great country — before Paris, France. It is time to make America great again”, the words of POTUS are melting under the discerning American sun.
President Trump is talking about America’s sovereignty. He even takes Pruitt to the podium, whose language is kind of an excerpt from the Bible, only that he is talking politics. “We owe no apologies to other nations for our environmental stewardship. “ We want to ask questions, but the President is leaving the podium, disappearing through the doors. “Do you believe in Climate Change, Mr. President?” The sun is burning our skin. The band starts to play.