BY MAX GREENWOOD – 05/28/17 09:45 AM EDT
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday that if President Trump withdraws the U.S. from the Paris climate deal, it would affirm to the world that he believes climate change to be a “hoax” and would badly hurt the GOP and the country.
“If he does withdraw, that would be a definitive statement from the president that he believes climate change is a hoax,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“It would be taken as a statement that climate change is not a problem; is not real,” he continued. “So that would be bad for the party, bad for the country.”
Graham’s comments came a day after Trump declined to pledge his support for the 195-country Paris deal at a meeting of the Group of Seven in Italy, making him the only G7 leader not to support the agreement outright.
He tweeted Saturday morning that he had not yet reached a decision on whether the U.S. will remain a party to the agreement, which is intended to fight the global effects of climate change.
But Trump is said to be leaning toward a withdrawal from the deal, which was originally adopted under the Obama administration. If he does pull the U.S. out of the agreement, it would be Trump’s most drastic move yet to undo the environmental policies of his predecessor.
Graham is among a group of Republicans who openly accept that human activity is a primary contributor to climate change, and has advocated for an expansion of the clean energy industry in the U.S.
Trump, on the other hand, once called climate change a “hoax” invented by China to hurt U.S. manufacturing.