“One man cannot destroy our progress,” the movie star who became governor of California said. “One man can’t stop our clean energy revolution. And one man can’t go back in time. Only I can do that.”
On Thursday, in announcing the withdrawal, Trump said the climate agreement was killing American jobs and hurting industries.
Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has been outspoken about climate change, telling deniers that even if they don’t believe the Earth is getting warmer as a result of human activity, pollution is still responsible for death and human suffering.
He said Trump was wrong when he argued that pulling out of the climate agreement would protect American people and jobs.
“As a public servant, and especially as a president, the first and most important responsibility is to protect the people,” Schwarzenegger said, adding that 200,000 Americans a year die from air pollution. “But some of us know what a clean energy future looks like, and it isn’t scary. We know that the dirty energy future with asthma, emphysema and cancer is scary.”
Gov. Jerry Brown, the California Democrat who succeeded Schwarzenegger, has also been outspoken about climate change. In fact, the Los Angeles Times called Brown “America’s unofficial climate change ambassador in the Trump era” and noted that the governor is headed to China on Friday for meetings with business and government officials.
Brown, the Times reported, “is scheduled to meet with provincial officials in cities with reputations for progressive views on the environment and an interest in green technology, before traveling to Beijing for an international clean energy summit.”
Brown’s stance is less confrontational than Schwarzenegger’s.
For months, Schwarzenegger and Trump have been going back and forth — on Twitter, in videos, in speeches. They were initially complimentary of each other when Schwarzenegger succeeded Trump as the star of “The New Celebrity Apprentice.” But their relationship tanked along with the show’s ratings.
“The ratings went right down the tube,” Trump said at the National Prayer Breakfast. “I want to just pray for Arnold for those ratings.”
The prayers apparently went unanswered.
Schwarzenegger left the show a few weeks later and blamed “baggage” from Trump for the ratings decline.
“With Trump being involved in the show, people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show,” Schwarzenegger said in an interview with Empire magazine. “It’s a very divisive period now, and I think this show got caught up in all that division.”
He was again skewered by Trump.
Schwarzenegger shot back the next month, when Trump’s daily approval rating dropped to 37 percent, a new low in the early months of his presidency.
“You got swamped. Wow. Now you’re in the 30s,” he said in the video. “But what do you expect, when you take away after-school programs for children and Meals on Wheels for the poor people, that’s not what you call Make America Great Again.”