Pruitt Says Decision To Withdraw From Paris Climate Accord Was Not ‘Political’

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator-designate, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said Sunday that the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord was not “political.”

“It was not a political decision,” Pruitt told Chuck Todd on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

“There seemed to be an implication during your back and forth with the White House press corps that the rest of the world wanted the United States in it to slow down the United States. Do you believe that?” Todd asked.

“I think the Paris agreement very much so put us at an economic disadvantage,” Pruitt replied.

“But do you believe that was intentional, that was the motivation?” Todd asked.

“I think the rest of the world applauded what we did in Paris,” Pruitt said.

“But why did they applaud it?” Todd pressed.

“Because it put us in an economic disadvantage,” Pruitt replied.

President Donald Trump also made that claim Thursday when he announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the deal.

“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” he said. “So we’re getting out.”