President Trump made a controversial decision when he withdrew from the landmark Paris climate agreement in June, but recent comments by French President Emmanuel Macron have raised the possibility that maybe, Trump will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord at some point down the line.
The two leaders met in France to celebrate Bastille Day, and despite their history of excruciatingly tense handshakes, they appeared to get along well during Trump's visit, with Macron telling French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche afterwards that "our countries are friends, so we should be too."
In that same interview, Macron said that he and Trump discussed the possibility of the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, which Macron strongly supports.
"Donald Trump listened to me. He understood the reason for my position, notably the link between climate change and terrorism," Macron said. "He said he would try to find a solution in the coming months. We spoke in detail about what could allow him to return to the Paris deal."
At a joint press conference with Macron, Trump himself seemed to crack the door open ever so slightly to the possibility of that the U.S. might rejoin the agreement at some point.
"Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord," Trump said. "And if it happens, that will be wonderful, and if it doesn't, that will be OK, too. But we'll see what happens."
To those who opposed Trump's decision to withdraw from the accord, those are probably the most encouraging words Trump has said on the topic since he announced America's withdrawal on June 1. But is there really a chance that he'll rejoin the agreement?
Before he made his final decision on the matter, Trump was reportedly lobbied heavily to stay in the accord. Those who urged him to keep the U.S. in the agreement reportedly included Macron, his daughter Ivanka, his chief economic advisor Gary Gohn, Tesla founder Elon Musk, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and German President Angela Merkel. Although Trump came out against the agreement during the campaign, The Washington Post reported that there was a vigorous internal debate at the White House about whether or not the U.S. should withdraw.
But as White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told the Post, Trump eventually "stayed where he's always been" on the issue, and withdrew from the agreement. In doing so, he reportedly sided with top advisor Steve Bannon, White House Counsel Don McGahn, and Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt, all of whom advised the president to pull out of the agreement, according to the Post.
If the reporting is right, then, there were essentially two camps in the White House dueling over this issue. But the decision was ultimately Trump's, and he decided to pull out. It's also worth keeping in mind that, despite the French president's newfound optimism, Macron had already lobbied Trump to stay in the Paris agreement before Trump decided to withdraw.
It's entirely possible that Trump will opt to rejoin the climate accords. But by all indications, he had already been privy to a spirited debate on the matter before he chose to leave the agreement.
Maybe he'll have a change of heart, but it's far too soon to predict with any degree of confidence that he will.