TAORMINA, Italy — Forceful face-to-face talks this week with fellow world leaders left President Donald Trump “more knowledgeable” and with “evolving” views about the global climate accord he’s threatened to abandon, a top White House official said Friday. Trump also was impressed by their arguments about how crucial U.S. leadership is in supporting international efforts.
The president’s new apparent openness to staying in the landmark Paris climate pact came amid a determined pressure campaign by European leaders. During Friday’s gathering of the Group of 7 wealthy democracies — as well as at earlier stops on Trump’s first international trip — leaders have implored him to stick with the 2015 accord aimed at reducing carbon emissions and slowing potentially disastrous global warming.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the G-7 leaders “put forward very many arguments” for the U.S. sticking with the agreement. And by Friday evening, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said Trump’s views were indeed “evolving.”
“He feels much more knowledgeable on the topic today,” Cohn said. “He came here to learn, he came here to get smarter.”
While those comments were remarkable given Trump’s fierce criticism of the Paris deal as a candidate, they were also in keeping with his emerging pattern as president. A novice in international affairs, Trump has been surprisingly candid about the impact his conversations with world leaders have had in shaping his views on numerous issues.