President Donald Trump "is an environmentalist" and "very pro-environment," and CEOs who are protesting his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement are "wrong," Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross insisted Friday.
"What the president is not doing is saying he's not going to try to improve the climate," Ross told NBC's "Today" show. "What he is saying is this particular agreement was destructive of U.S. economic growth going out into the future. I think they're confusing the withdrawal from the agreement with the idea that he's against helping the climate. That is not the case."
On Thursday, both SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Disney CEO Bob Iger pulled their membership from the president's Business Advisory Council to protest the president's decision, and they were wrong to do that, said Ross.
The commerce secretary also disagreed with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, who wanted to remain in the Paris accord and said fighting climate change is a matter of national security.
"There's nothing that the withdrawal requires us to do, that we don't want to do," said Ross. "The country has actually reduced it quite a little bit ... the president hasn't changed any of that. He is an environmentalist. I've known him for a long time. He's very pro-environment."
Even though Trump has made a drastic turnaround from former President Barack Obama's initiatives and on the Paris accord, he's still an environmentalist, Ross told "Today" anchor Matt Lauer.
"You're taking as the given that the Obama administration was right and any other action was wrong," Ross said.
Further, the other 195 countries around the world who remain in the Paris accord "aren't front-ending burdens the way we were asked to do," said Ross.
"This agreement, as I understand it, would have allowed China to keep increasing its emissions all the way out until 2030," he continued. "That's hardly climate control. We were giving money up front. They're able to continue increasing their emissions through 2030. Is that a balanced deal? I don't think so."
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