Trump on withdrawing from climate-change accord: "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris"

Yes, yes, as a thousand liberals are pointing out on social media this afternoon, Pittsburgh voted Clinton in the last election, as most major cities tended to do. Don’t miss the forest for the trees. This is a sharp line, of a piece with his lecturing NATO leaders in Brussels last week that it’s unfair to ask Americans to shoulder a heavier burden for Europe’s defense. He’s pushing his “America First” message hard lately, no doubt at Steve Bannon’s urging. This point isn’t aimed at Pittsburgh per se, it’s aimed at nationalists everywhere (especially those in nearby rural Pennsylania). Trump cares about you, not about the “international consensus.” In fact, this line may work better because Pittsburgh didn’t vote for him. An American city that preferred his opponent still matters more to him than the opinion of his elite peers in foreign capitals.

Nate Silver warns that the Paris accord is actually fairly popular in the U.S. Maybe, but popular enough to swing votes? Nate Cohn of the NYT’s “Upshot” site sees countervailing populist benefits:

Most of the left is melting down over Trump’s decision, even to a degree above and beyond the usual Russiagate freakouts, despite the fact that most acknowledge that the Paris agreement doesn’t really do anything. It’s hortatory. It’s a symbolic gesture that climate change is Important, maybe a building block to a more formally binding international treaty later but a fart in the wind for now. To Democrats, that’s a reason to leave the agreement alone: Why withdraw if the accord imposes no burden on you? To Republicans, it’s the opposite: Why play along with a legal fiction instead of withdrawing? It’s a silly debate given that both positions leave you in the same place, with Trump’s administration doing next to nothing on curbing emissions over the next four years. But today’s decision matters symbolically as grave heresy against a core liberal quasi-religious conviction and as a bold nationalist statement that Trump will go his own way on foreign policy no matter how much other powers disapprove. That’s the deeper meaning of the “Pittsburgh” line. In the end, what Pennsylvania thinks matters more than what Paris does.

Besides, withdrawal under the agreement will take three years to complete. He’ll have a chance to change his mind as and when it becomes advantageous to do so, and probably will. Multiple times.

Update: The media doesn’t usually make much of a pretense of impartiality on Trump policies, but today the bias is *kisses fingers* outstanding.