July 8 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump praised his administration's leadership on environmental issues and blasted the Democrats' proposal for a Green New Deal on Monday.
Trump delivered remarks Monday afternoon in the East Room of the White House alongside Cabinet members such as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. He highlighted acts of environmental stewardship his administration has taken to improve the environment.
Trump, who has rolled back multiple Obama-era regulations to combat climate change, said the previous administration sacrificed U.S. jobs in pursuit of environmental protection.
"Punishing Americans is never the right way to produce a better environment or a better economy," he said.
Trump has said that under his administration, the United States is a global leader in protecting the environment, though in June 2017, he announced plans to withdraw the country from the Paris Agreement on climate change. The 195-nation pact sets out stringent standards to restrict carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases that scientists say contribute to global warming.
Trump, who called climate change a "hoax" during his presidential campaign, said the Paris Agreement is a "bad deal" for the U.S. economy.
Climate change was not mentioned in Trump's speech, nor in an outline released by the White House Monday.
Trump also took aim at the Green New Deal saying it contrasts with the "practical solutions" that have been a focus of his administration.
The Green New Deal, introduced by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, seeks to offset pollution caused by the use of coal or oil by increasing forests and also calls for an upgrade to infrastructure, building resiliency to climate change-related natural disasters and working with farmers to reduce emissions.
He described the Democrat-backed plan as unaffordable "even in the best of times" and suggested it would lead to the loss of U.S. jobs.
"I will not stand for it," he said. "We will defend the environment but we will also defend American sovereignty, American prosperity and we will defend American jobs."