Last week, President Trump made the U.S. stand out (as promised!) big time — as 1 of 3 out of 198 nations — that won’t participate in the Paris accords. It wasn’t surprising that Trump chose to go in this direction, despite all of the opposition from Ivanka Trump and even Energy Secretary Rick Perry to not withdraw from the agreement, but Trump is still the same guy who doubted (or still doubts) that climate change is a real phenomenon.
Following loads of criticism from other world leaders, the official political fallout has begun. The acting U.S. Ambassador to China, David Rank, has decided to leave his post in Beijing. Rank was on the job when Trump made his announcement, which will benefit China in multiple ways at the detriment of the globe. Following Trump’s decision, China will wield more influence (and hold more jobs) in the environmental disciplines (despite being the world’s greatest carbon emitter), but — as Foreign Policy points out — the two “countries’ cooperation has historically been more cordial and productive in one area: environmental protection.”
With that balance gone, tensions are running higher than normal. However, the State Department insists that the decision was made by Rank (who has served in several other department positions) alone. Via CNN:
Rank has served in several senior positions within the US State Department including time as the director of the office of Afghanistan affairs and as a senior adviser to the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Mr. Rank made a personal decision,” a senior State Department official told CNN, stopping short of citing the climate deal developments as the reason. “We appreciate his years of dedicated service to the State Department.”
Other sources told CNN otherwise while insisting that Trump’s controversial decision had an instant cooling effect on diplomatic relations in China. Of course, Trump’s own speech took an “America First” stance, which reverberated around the globe and will have lasting political fallout, and ambassadors must now either defend Trump’s positions or face a difficult career decision.
Rank isn’t the only ambassador who isn’t having an optimal time lately. Lewis Lukens, the acting U.S. ambassador to the U.K., tweeted a statement that commended London Mayor Sadiq Khan for his handling of the terror attacks. Trump’s continued bashing of Khan must make things mighty uncomfortable across the pond.