In ITV interview US president also says he would take tougher stand on Brexit than Theresa May
US President Donald Trump arrives by helicopter before boarding the Air Force One ahead of his departure from Zurich Airport in Zurich on January 26, 2018, after attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos.
Washington: Donald Trump has said the United States could re-enter the Paris climate change agreement and that he would have taken a “tougher stand” in Brexit negotiations than Theresa May.
The US president said the country could re-enter the Paris accord for a “completely different deal” but called the existing agreement a “terrible deal” and a “disaster” for the United States.
Meanwhile, in comments on Brexit that will add to the pressure on the prime minister, Trump said he “would have negotiated it differently” and that he had “a lot of problems” with the European Union, warning of a major trade battle between the US and the bloc.
Trump made the comments in an interview with Piers Morgan for ITV, to be broadcast on Sunday night. A preview of the interview released on Friday showed Trump saying he was prepared to apologise for retweeting inflammatory videos by the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First.
The US president also told Morgan he has “tremendous respect for women”, often posts on social media from his bed or at breakfast, and has not received an invitation to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “that [he knows] of” but is happy for the couple.
Trump was met with global condemnation when he announced in June 2017 that the US was pulling out of the climate agreement. The landmark treaty was signed by 195 nations after intense negotiations in 2015, with countries making voluntary pledges to cut carbon emissions in an attempt to restrict an increase in global temperatures to below two degrees celsius this century.
Trump said in the ITV interview that he was a “believer in clean air and clean water” but the Paris agreement would have been a disaster for the United States. However, despite initially saying he was “completely out” of the accord, Trump said there could be a way back for the US.
“First of all, it was a terrible deal for the United States. If they made a good deal there’s always a chance we’d get back. But it was a terrible deal for the United States. It was unfair to the United States,” he said.
“I believe in clean air. I believe in crystal-clear, beautiful … I believe in just having good cleanliness in all. Now, with that being said, if somebody said go back into the Paris accord, it would have to be a completely different deal because we had a horrible deal.
“As usual, they took advantage of the United States. We were in a terrible deal. Would I go back in? Yeah, I’d go back in. I like as you know I like Emmanuel [Macron]. I would love to, but it’s got to be a good deal for the United States.”
Asked if he believed in climate change, Trump said: “There is a cooling, and there’s a heating. I mean look, it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records. They’re at a record level.”
Trump’s comments about Brexit will add to the pressure on May amid growing rumours of discontent in the Conservative party over the approach she is taking.
“Would it be the way I negotiate? No, I wouldn’t negotiate it the way it’s negotiated,” Trump said. “But I have a lot of respect for your prime minister, and I think they’re doing a job. I think I would have negotiated it differently. I would have had a different attitude.
“I think I would have said that the European Union is not cracked up to what it’s supposed to be, and I would have taken a tougher stand in getting out. I have a lot of problems with the European Union.”
The US president described the relationship between his country and the EU as a “very unfair situation”, adding: “We cannot get our product in. It’s very, very tough. Yet, they send their product to us – no taxes, very little taxes. It’s very unfair. I’ve had a lot of problems with European Union, and it may morph into something very big from that standpoint, from a trade standpoint.”
Trump was also asked in the interview to speak out in defence of women and clarify previous remarks that have provoked a backlash against the president. “Well, I think we have to evolve,” he said. “If we don’t evolve, there’s something missing. But I have tremendous respect for women.”
Asked if he was a feminist, Trump said: “I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist. I think that would be maybe going too far. I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone. I think people have to go out, they have to go out and really do it, and they have to win. Women are doing great, and I’m happy about that.”