President Donald Trump has taken yet another bold move as the nation’s chief executive, this time in the name of a possibly surprising ideal: environmentalism.
While his critics have denounced the Trump administration as detrimental to the environment, the president signed an order this week that bans oil drilling off the coast of Florida and other states, as reported by the Daily Caller.
“The great environmentalist”
In an unexpected announcement on Tuesday, Trump explained the motive for his latest executive action.
He called himself “the great environmentalist,” explaining that his move renewed a moratorium on Gulf Coast drilling for another decade while adding parts of the Atlantic coastline to the list of excluded regions.
Although he has faced criticism for defending fossil fuels and deregulation as part of the nation’s energy policy, his latest remarks signal a conservationist bent to his administration.
The president made his statements during a campaign event in his adopted home state of Florida. He likened himself to President Theodore Roosevelt in touting the order to renew the offshore drilling ban until 2032.
“This protects your beautiful Gulf and your beautiful ocean, and it will for a long time to come,” Trump said, according to a report from Bay News 9.
“A complete ambush”
The president’s order also expands the ban to the shores of South Carolina and Georgia, catching many in the oil industry off guard.
“It’s a complete ambush,” one official said in a statement to Politico. “Nobody knows where this came from. It totally seems like a campaign sort of thing.”
Trump cited the outcry of public officials in Florida and elsewhere as responsible for a shift away from his prior platform, which included expanding offshore drilling to most of the U.S. coastline.
“They came to my office and said that this will make us and you the No. 1 environmental president since Teddy Roosevelt,” he said, according to Bay News 9. “I said, ‘Huh, that sounds good.’ Because I wasn’t going to do it. I figured let’s not do it, but when they said that, it was like a challenge.”
Despite the shift in his stance, Trump differentiated his position from that of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, asserting that his administration is “proving every day that we can improve our environment while creating millions of high-paying jobs,” Fox Business reported.