And let’s be clear:
Donald is no-one’s Teddy, either.

It’s difficult to imagine anything more cynical than what Trump tried to lay on Florida’s environmental, independent and middle-of-the-road voters this week. It was clearly a boldfaced bait-and-switch con.

It’s not going to work. Neither Floridians nor anyone else, anywhere, who cares about the environment and addressing the climate crisis is buying it.

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When Trump ran down to Florida this week, he made a huge deal out of signing an executive order to ban offshore drilling in federal waters around Florida. The order will keep fossil fuel companies from obtaining leases in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Straits or Atlantic near the state for 10 years.

In signing the order, Trump reversed his own policy from 2018, when he announced a five-year plan for oil and gas leasing in multiple areas of U.S. waters, including the Gulf of Mexico.  

It’s no secret Trump needs Florida if he’s to have any chance of winning the Electoral College count. Most polls tracked by Five Thirty Eight have Biden up between 1 and 3 points in Florida, with one of them showing a 7-point lead. A few polls have Trump leading the race by 1 to 3 points. 

Point being that Florida is basically a tossup right now.

Picture of Donald Trump, the world's worst environmental huckster

Trump must be thinking he can persuade enough people who actually care about the environment and climate crisis that he actually cares. That they’ll buy into the idea that this one act defines his legacy on environmental issues. That their votes will give him a victory. And that he’ll quickly find an “alternative fact” to justify countermanding the order.

Does he truly believe Americans are that gullible or stupid? 

Even worse, during the over-staged signing in Jupiter, Fla., Trump – apparently with a straight face – said he is the “the No. 1 environmental president since Teddy Roosevelt.”

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I grew up in Medora, N.D., literally at the entrance of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and a few miles from the site of Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch, so I probably know a little more about our nation’s 26th president than your average citizen. As a kid, I learned all about his cowpoke days, heroics in the Spanish-American War and presidency at the local museum and the U.S. Park Service interpretive center.

I walked the Badlands buttes, river flats and open prairies where the future president cut his teeth, gained much of his toughness and developed a conservation philosophy that contributed mightily to his presidential actions to “…establish 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, four national game preserves, five national parks and 18 national monuments on over 230 million acres of public land.” 

So allow me to say, in no uncertain terms:  Donald Trump is no Teddy Roosevelt. 

Roosevelt understood a man’s actions speak louder than his words, and he lived that way. 

Trump? 

His actions include rolling back close to 100 environmental laws, regulations and rules, opening federal lands for oil exploration and extraction, withdrawing the USA from the Paris Climate Accord and initiating withdrawal from the World Health Organization, which is relevant because human health is closely tied to environmental health.

These are the deeds of an environmental exploiter, not an environmentalist.

As for Trump’s words, well…

He is the new poster boy for the old “repeat it enough times and soon they’ll believe it” school of lying. Or, as we used to say in grade school, open a dictionary to “con artist” and you’ll see his mugshot.

Astute Americans have been lied to enough – more than 20,000 times in less than four years, according to reputable sources – to know when Trump’s running yet another con.

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Florida Democrats are calling the Trump ruse “disingenuous,” “disrespectful” and “preposterous,” and an attempt “to gaslight Florida voters” by the “most anti-climate, anti-science, anti-environmental executive branch in United States history.”

That’s putting it generously.

This is cynicism at its worst. Hucksterism at its finest. A whole new level of crass contempt for environmental voters’ intelligence. In other words, it’s standard operating procedure for Con-in-Chief Donald J. Trump.

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Green outlined graphic indicating copyright 2019 Martin C. Fredricks IV

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