Brad Wieners
Apr 22 · 5 min read

Trump: “No one loves Mother Earth more than me.”

An Earth Day Fable

What everyone remembers best, of course, is when Donald J. Trump single-handedly rescued that youngster in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The ever-agile commander in chief using shrink-wrapped paper towels as water wings to keep four-year-old Elìan from slipping beneath the waves? Amazing, even now. Then he pledged an immediate $5.7 billion in aid for reconstruction.

“We know what’s really going on,” Trump said, arm-in-arm with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló. “The ocean is rigged. The Climate has the ocean rigged to cause huge storms. And you know what? I’m going to stop it.”

Illustration by Evan Walbridge

From the moment he took office, Trump has done just that. The 45th U.S. president grasped the extent and urgency of the climate crisis, acting swiftly to cut greenhouse gas emissions before they could overheat the earth to a life-threatening degree. He averted an estimated $550 trillion in economic losses by 2100, plus prevented more baseball-sized hailstones.

“When I was growing up it was The Bomb. Everyone was afraid of The Bomb. Not me. But a lot of people were,” Trump said. “The Climate is worse than The Bomb.”

On just his second day in office, President Trump warned us in his stirring televised address about how we have only a few years to effect dramatic changes in our economy — and assured us that we, as Americans, were up to the task. Calling Obama’s regulations “weak,” he placed an immediate ban on new drilling offshore and on public lands.

Naturally, the haters hinted at self-interest — that his resolve came from his learning that his Florida golf club, Mar-a-Lago, risked flooding on sunny days, and before his son Barron reaches voting age. Does it matter? Trump did what he had to, achieving what other world leaders said he couldn’t, and all while looking out for the little guy.

“I’ve taken better care of Florida than any man ever,” the president said.

In June 2017, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement only to renegotiate a more aggressive plan for decarbonizing the global economy: the Trump Paris Summit. Steve Bannon, an aggressive, if unkempt climate hawk ever since his work years earlier on the Biosphere 2, took the lead drafting the plan, with Trump artfully sealing the deal.

“I’m not a white nationalist,” Bannon told Sean Hannity. “I’m a white environmentalist!”

Key to the Trump Paris plan: farming and grazing practices that build soil, trapping excess carbon dioxide. “I get dirt,” Trump noted. “I mean, no one gets dirt like I do.” The scientists make it sound complicated, but it’s not, he said. “There’s too much carbon in the sky, not enough in the ground.” The best part? “When it’s in the ground, you can’t see it,” the president said.

That same week Trump committed to closing every last coal-burning power plant in the U.S. within a single year, while challenging China to do the same. When the U.S. won this contest 10 months later, no one was more pleased than Trump. By then, he’d already set in motion policies that ensured that displaced workers from the coal industry could find jobs on clean energy infrastructure projects, calling union labor “the original renewable resource.”

Even before he threw the switch on clean electricity, the president called a national emergency to force the immediate adoption of higher emission standards on vehicles. As American automakers unveiled hybrid cars, trucks and even SUVs that get 200 miles to the gallon, Trump quoted one of his favorite TV shows.

“We have the technology,” he beamed.

He said the same celebrating the move to synthetic limestone in concrete. On the day Blue Planet announced that it had removed 25 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere in one year, Trump boasted, “I knew this would work because I’m a builder.”

Signing the Green Backs Act (GBA) into law in the Rose Garden, he said, “Today, hurricanes are fired!” Remarkably, Trump reached across the aisle for the GBA, a carbon cap-and-dividend program that returns cash to middle-class families. To sell it to Congress, he set the price on carbon low at first, with annual rate increases so businesses could plan accordingly. (And, really, who hasn’t loved getting one of those Green Backs checks on a tight week?)

The emergency global summit he convened in August 2018 was testy at times, but equally great, as Trump’s tough talk about a trade war and sanctions persuaded Brazil to cease clear-cutting the Amazon.

And then there was Leo DiCaprio’s historic visit to the White House — “the hug felt ‘round the world” — with the visibly emotional president touting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s One Earth climate model, and its three pillars for keeping average global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, rebranded as the Trump New Deal™. He wore a new limited edition green MAGA cap for the occasion.

“By moving to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, and then sucking carbon out of the sky and into forests and soil,” DiCaprio said, “we can score the occasional In-N-Out Double-Double and still not fry.”

“No black lung!” the president famously burst in. “That’s why I love wind power.”

Cautioning the public that greenhouse gases linger longer than a Clinton fart, the president convened the Trump White House climate all-stars to give it to us straight. “We need our biggest brains under one roof to assess our progress,” Trump said, “even if those brains will never be as big as mine.”

“President Trump surprised us all with his ability to accomplish so much in so few months in office,” said Angela Merkel, who left her native Germany at his request to run the Trump UN Task Force on Climate Justice. She has recommended him for a second Nobel Peace Prize.

“Herr Trump brought us together. We like to call him Father Nature because, as he once said, ‘no one loves Mother Earth more than me.’ He was — is — our angel of mercy.”

Brad Wieners

Written by

Brad Wieners is the director of copy at Patagonia