Leaving Paris (from Rex Tillerson’s Diary)

Here’s how the deal was undone.

Three years ago today, Trump announced that he would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Rex Tillerson, who was Trump’s Secretary of State about 10,000 tweets ago, was there, behind the scenes, when Trump was making the decision. 

Here’s what he might have written in his diary:.

April 1.  Talked with DT today.  He said he’d been rethinking the whole climate change thing.  Hadn’t realized the science was so clear.  Can’t buck scientific facts, he’s thinking.

OK, April Fool!

Probably wouldn’t be funny to anyone else, but I got a kick out of it. Like DT cares about science. Or facts of any kind. Moron.

April 22.  Long talk with Jared about climate change. JK’s not the brightest bulb on the tree, but he’s no fool. Right now, DT looks like King Canute, yelling at the tide to stop.  Or tweeting it to the whole world.  Who does he think he’s fooling? Even folks at Exxon know better! JK and I put our heads together and did some strategizing about how to lasso this steer.

April 23.  JK and I meet with DT.  Didn’t go well. DT is more Texan than the Texas when it comes to oil and gas. Drill, baby, drill — which is o.k. to an extent, unless it gets out of hand and drives down prices.

May 4.  Went golfing with DT. Thought I might catch him with his guard down.  Bad experience all the way around. I had to work like hell to let him win without being totally obvious.  Luckily, he think he’s really good. In terms of climate change, he mentioned that J.K. and I had  talked to him about the Paris Agreement. But even Ivanka struck out.

May 5.  That fool Pruitt has been at it again, making trouble about the Paris Agreement. That guy would never make it in Texas politics, but I guess Oklahoma is a different matter.  Couldn’t pour pee out of a boot with the directions printed on the heel.

The one thing DT actually knows about the Paris Agreement is it’s connected with Paris.  He hates that city, keeps talking about how they eat snails there. Guess he knows they think he’s a fool.

May 24.  Had a heart-to-heart in the Oval Office.  Tried to explain the Paris Agreement has voluntary targets, so it’s no problem for industry.  My old company Exxon supports the deal. He went on a rant about windmills.  Always weird to find out he actually believes the stuff he says in public.  Truly convinced that windmills give people cancer.  He bombed all his science classes in school; thinks scientists find him dumb. Could be right about that one. But windmill cancer??  I suppose he thinks solar panels give people sunburn.

June 1.  Well, now he’s gone and done it!  Like any fool could predict, all our allies are pissed as hell.  State, cities, and corporations are vowing to comply with Paris.  There’s too many dumb moves like this.  I feel like I’m consigliere to a toddler. But Lord knows who he’d replace me with. That’s what keeps me here. [noted in margin:  Boy was I right about that! Pompeo??]


Maybe those aren’t the exact words Tillerson would use, but they actually do fit what we know about his views of the Paris Agreement and of the White House.

Welcome to modern American governance!

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About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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