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Ted Cruz Is Unclear On What The Paris Climate Agreement Is. Luckily, AOC Reminded Him

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
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President Joe Biden is already busy undoing some of the legislative harm caused by the Trump administration in his first 24 hours in office. He has signed executive orders to help Americans facing financial stress during the coronavirus pandemic, and ended Trump’s Muslim travel ban, and his construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. While Republicans are up in arms about many of these orders, they’re also particularly irate over Biden’s executive order to rejoin the Paris climate accord. 

Trump loyalists, including Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Diana Harshbarger both criticized the move. In a tweet, Blackburn said the decision to rejoin the agreement — an international treaty on climate change — would “cost American jobs and force households and small business to pay higher utility bills.” Harshbarger echoed Blackburn’s rhetoric, and claimed that “Instead of putting Americans first, [Biden’s] implementing a liberal agenda to score points with the international community.” 

But it was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — who has become perhaps the biggest Trump sycophant — whose take was worthy of some severe mockery from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Cruz released a statement on Wednesday arguing that by rejoining the Paris climate accord, Biden is “more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh.” But the Paris agreement does not only represent the views of Parisians — 189 countries have signed on to the treaty, in a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Still, Cruz went on to claim that the “agreement will do little to affect the climate and will harm the livelihoods of Americans.” 

It didn’t take long for Ocasio-Cortez to come back with an expert jab, as she is known to do. “Nice tweet Sen. Cruz,” she started, before asking, “do you also believe the Geneva Convention was about the views of the citizens of Geneva?” She then took it even further, and added, “Asking for everyone who believes US Senators should be competent and not undermine our elections to incite insurrection against the United States.” 

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Ocasio-Cortez was, of course, referring to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol led by thousands of Trump supporters, white nationalists, and QAnon believers. Cruz has received backlash from Congressional Democrats, including the New York congresswoman, over his complicity in Trump’s effort to essentially steal the 2020 presidential election. The Texas senator stood by the president in his false accusations and furthered them, while also objecting to count the electoral votes of key states, like Arizona. 

This isn’t the first time AOC and Cruz gone head to head, either. In the aftermath of the Capitol attack, Ocasio-Cortez confronted Cruz over his refusal to condemn the fact that literal Nazis were involved in the planning and carrying out of the violent siege. After Cruz expressed contempt at Biden for referring to some of the attackers as such, Ocasio-Cortez chimed in. “They wore Auschwitz shirts, erected gallows, and tried to hang the Vice President,” she said. “Your continued excusal and denial of Wednesday’s Neo-Nazi presence is abhorrent and dangerous.” Unfortunately for Cruz, he will never stand a chance against his colleague’s sharp words. 

Nevertheless, Biden’s decision to sign back on to the Paris agreement is one small step in the right direction when it comes to the existential threat of climate change, in a continued global effort to move away from fossil fuels. And regardless of what Cruz thinks, even Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto supported the initiative in a series of tweets. “Are you kidding me? Here we go, again…” Peduto wrote in response to Cruz. He later added that despite being a city once fueled by coal and nuclear energy, “Pittsburgh has exceeded our Paris commitments.”

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