‘Can’t breathe’: Donald Trump blames India for climate change, says US ‘cleanest’

By Ryan Johnson

In meeting with Prince Charles, Trump blames India, China for climate change

Pushed by Prince Charles on the issue of climate change, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday replayed his theme of blaming India, China and Russia for allegedly not doing enough, and insisted the US has one of the ‘cleanest climates’.

Trump made the remarks during an interview with ITV on the last day of his three-day state visit. He joined Queen Elizabeth, France President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, before leaving for Ireland.

Trump blamed India and other countries while withdrawing from the Paris climate accord in 2017, and reiterated the contention since. He had an extended discussion on Tuesday with Prince Charles on climate change, an issue on which the president is known to have serious reservations.

According to Trump, Charles did most of the talking, and he ‘totally listened’. He lauded the prince’s passion for the subject, and said he countered the suggestion that the US should do more to combat climate change.

He said: “I did say, ‘Well, the United States right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics.’ And it’s even getting better because I agree with that we want the best water, the cleanest water.”

“China, India, Russia, many other nations, they have not very good air, not very good water, and the sense of pollution. If you go to certain cities … you can’t even breathe, and now that air is going up … They don’t do the responsibility.”

Climate change was one of the issues in talks between Trump and Prime Minister May, reflecting demands before the state visit that he be confronted over his approach to it. A letter signed by 250 academics said his refusal to tackle global warming is “increasing risks for lives and livelihoods” around the world.

Protests against Trump continued in Portsmouth, with images of the ‘Trump baby blimp’ appearing in bus shelters that were soon taken down as part of security for the D-Day event. Organisers were keen to ensure that the Trump visit does not overshadow the event to mark one of the most definitive battles of World War II.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who addressed an anti-Trump rally in London and said he was keen to meet the president to raise climate change, among other issues, attended the D-Day event, but there was no evidence the two met. Trump said he rejected Corbyn’s request to meet during the visit.