Quick Takes: Will Trump Pull Out of the Paris Climate Agreement This Week?

A roundup of the news that caught my eye today.

* Trump said that he would make his decision on the Paris Climate Agreement this week and the folks at Axios say they have the scoop.

President Trump has privately told multiple people, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave the Paris agreement on climate change, according to three sources with direct knowledge.

But as they go on to explain, it won’t happen with a single announcement. There are 3 possible avenues:

Trump could announce he is pulling the U.S. from the deal, which would trigger a withdrawal process that wouldn’t conclude until November 2020 at the earliest…

Trump could declare that the Paris deal is actually a legal treaty that requires Senate approval. Such a vote would fail, and then Trump would have Senate backing to not abide by the deal, which he deems a treaty…

Trump could withdraw the U.S. from the treaty that underpins the Paris deal, which is called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This would be the most extreme option because it would take the U.S. out of all global climate diplomacy. This process would take just one year.

* We’ve seen polls that indicate Trump’s approval among his supporters might be slipping a bit. Another indicator could be what is happening with right wing media.

“Breitbart News is the #45th most trafficked website in the United States, according to rankings from Amazon’s analytics company, Alexa.com,” they wrote on January 9, 2017. “With over two billion pageviews generated in 2016 and 45 million unique monthly visitors, Breitbart News has now surpassed Fox News (#47), Huffington Post (#50), Washington Post (#53), and Buzzfeed (#64) in traffic.”…

Just a few months later, the numbers have a different story to tell. As of May 26, 2017, according to Alexa.com—the same web-ranking analytics company that Breitbart drew its numbers from in January—Fox News is the 64th most-trafficked site in the country. Huffington Post is at 60. Buzzfeed is at 50. The Washington Post, on the strength of a series of eye-popping scoops, is at 41.

Breitbart is in 281st place…

Other conservative media sites have also experienced declines in traffic in recent months, but none as pronounced as Breitbart’s. According to Alexa data, National Review Online, Infowars.com, The Daily Caller, and Drudge Report all saw slumps in their rankings. Over the last week, as Trump was engulfed in the Comey scandal, Fox News’s viewership dropped to third place behind CNN and MSNBC for the first time in 17 years.

* I love Philip Bumb’s post for the title alone: “The fake news is coming from inside the White House.” He starts by pointing to Trump’s tweets.

To believe Donald Trump, you must believe two largely contradictory things.

You must believe that there are a slew of leakers in the executive branch who are providing damning details to the press illegally, and who must be rooted out and punished…

You must also believe that the press makes up imaginary leakers simply to slowly and incrementally report false stories that are tangentially embarrassing to the president.

* I’m going to suggest that you read the entire thread of tweets from Richard Florida that starts with this:

* Finally, Joseph Babcock recounts his experience of living in Vietnam when President Obama paid a visit.

By the time Air Force One landed at Ton Son Nhat, Saigon felt primed for its moment. Crowds lined the streets around the President’s hotel and in front of the embassy. Everyone—students, office workers, street vendors, grandmothers—wanted a glimpse of Obama. They said his name with the flat monotone that Vietnamese speakers use when saying a word that doesn’t contain diacritics, the last syllable drawn out so that it sounded like “Obam-aaah!” People in the crowd waved little Vietnamese and American flags, a sight that was kind of amazing in itself considering that this was right around the corner from the War Remnants Museum, formerly called the Exhibition House for U.S. and Puppet Crimes.

That was captured by this video from Pete Souza:

Babcock notes that we didn’t see the same kind of thing for Trump during his trip abroad last week and drew some conclusions.

It’s not exactly surprising that the outpouring of love I saw the Vietnamese show President Obama was largely missing from President Trump’s first trip abroad. On the contrary, thousands showed up for “Trump Not Welcome” marches in Europe this week…

No matter who holds the office, the American presidency remains a symbol of power, wealth, and military strength. Those broad strokes remain pretty much constant. It’s the individual who fills in the rest, who determines whether he or she will be seen as a symbol of hope and encouragement—a person who spreads good vibes, as we might say here in Southern California—or a symbol of anger and crabbed fear.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .