and the winner is...?
If President Trump announces this afternoon that he's pulling out of the Paris climate accord, it will be a win for chief strategist Stephen Bannon and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Politico reported Thursday that both men have long been angling for Trump to bail on the deal:
Donald Trump's chief strategist and EPA administrator maneuvered for months to get the president to exit the Paris climate accord, shrewdly playing to his populist instincts and publicly pressing the narrative that the nearly 200-nation deal was effectively dead — boxing in the president on one of his highest-profile decisions to date.
Steve Bannon and Scott Pruitt have sought to outsmart the administration's pro-Paris group of advisers, including Trump's daughter Ivanka, who were hoping the president could be swayed by a global swell of support for the deal from major corporations, U.S. allies, Al Gore, and even the pope. [Politico]
While Ivanka was setting up meetings for her dad with supporters of the agreement, Bannon and Pruitt were reportedly pushing concerns about how the deal could "hobble his pro-fossil-fuel energy agenda" and playing into Trump's concerns that the U.S. wasn't getting a good deal under the Paris Agreement. "Some of the debate was for show to help the moderates feel like they had their say," a person who'd talked to Pruitt told Politico. "Pruitt has believed all along that this was never in doubt."
Trump is slated to announce his decision Thursday at 3 p.m. Three White House officials told Politico that he's settled on pulling out of the Paris accord — though they conceded it's always possible Trump could change his mind.
Read more on the Paris face-off within the Trump administration at Politico.