Donald Trump's presidency is a crime against our planet, and history will show that whatever honor the GOP once had has fallen like a bag of bricks. President Trump announced that he was pulling out of the Paris agreement, the beginnings of an international infrastructure meant to acknowledge and correct the grave danger we have put ourselves in after decades of environmental destruction to our atmosphere and our earth.
"The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord," Trump said to applause from the crowd gathered in the White House Rose Garden.
This ham-handed decision by Trump to drop the Paris agreement is a direct assault against Latinos. At Trump’s age, he will never have to live through the consequences of his decision. But the median age of Latinos is 27 years old, according to Pew Research Center, a decade younger than the rest of the country, meaning whatever destruction the Trump administration’s assault on the environment reeks will need to be cleaned up by future generations. As the youth of America, Latinos are also the engine of America’s economic future.
This is why Latinos overwhelmingly support combating climate change and protecting the environment. A recent survey by the polling firm Latino Decisions found that the overwhelming majority of Hispanics across the country believe that policies should be passed to combat climate change and to reduce smog and air pollution. This also has a lot to do with the fact that most Latinos live in urban centers across the country, which disproportionately place Hispanics in poorer living conditions that can contribute to worse health outcomes.
This explains the swift response by over 60 mayors across the country, pledging to continue their commitment to the Paris agreement guidelines. In a statement signed by mayors across the country, such as Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Chicago, and others, the mayors said, “We will continue to lead…And if the President wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we’ll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks. The world cannot wait — and neither will we.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “L.A. will lead by committing to the goals of the accord, and will work closely with cities across America and the world to do the same”. Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix said, “It’s official, President Trump refuses to lead. I and other mayors will.”
Adrianna Quintero, founder of VOCES, an organization founded on supporting a sustainable environment, said, "Stepping away from our role of leadership is an absolute betrayal to every American who believed his claim of bringing jobs back. While the world will continue to move forward towards a clean energy future, today the U.S. moves backwards."
Quintero pointed out that climate change is not only a local threat to Latinos, but that our close connection to the world in South America, the Caribbean, and Central America explains why Latinos see climate change from a global perspective. “Lots of Latinos still have close ties in Latin America and are well aware that the impacts are very severe”, said Quintero.
Many Latino Democrats were quick to slam the president's mind-boggling action.
Representative Ruben Kihuen of Nevada said, “President Trump’s reckless decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement will be viewed in the future as one of the most reprehensible actions by this Administration.”
Democratic National Committee chair, Tom Perez, issued a statement saying, “Today, Donald Trump signed away our future. As the world looks to America for leadership, President Trump and Republicans are keeping their heads buried in the sand, hoping the greatest challenge of our time will simply disappear."
"The president’s decision is not just a failure of leadership," stated Perez. "It’s economically reckless. It’s a deliberate insult to humanity. And it’s a betrayal of future generations who will have to endure the consequences of Trump's reckless actions.”
But where are the voices of Latino Republicans?
President Trump’s decision to rebuff the Paris agreements makes America grate further against the progress of the world. Which is why the response by any thinking Republican, or one even with a modicum of decency, was complete silence. As it enables Trump, the GOP is a menace to democracy and to civility.
The 70-year-old president is in the twilight of his life, and he's making sure to drop the blinds on the future generations of this world while the “Party of Putin”, or Putinistas, whistle Dixie in the halls of state governments across this country with proposal after proposal seeking to disenfranchise Latinos, African Americans, the LGBTQ community, and women.
Donald Trump is a wrecking ball that has been heaped onto the world because "petty and vindictive" Americans, as economist and columnist Paul Krugman writes, have been duped. Those too smart to be duped are complicit in destroying the progress of civilization because they feel power slipping from their hands. Latinos and the future generations of this world will be cleaning up the GOP's environmental mess for years to come.