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The Citizens Of Pittsburgh Just Responded To Trump’s Claim That He Represents Them

In withdrawing from the Paris climate accord Thursday, Donald Trump claimed that he was doing it for Pittsburgh. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” the president said, making reference to US Steel, a company that once made Pittsburgh a global industrial capital.

Trump may have depicted a Pittsburgh whose past industrial glory is being choked by over-regulation. But to hear Pittsburghers tell it, the president might as well have been talking about Pluto.

Residents in Pittsburgh say it’s ironic that President Donald Trump name-dropped their city as an excuse for his irresponsible decision. After all, it’s stricter environmental regulations and clean energy policies that transformed their once “smoky city” into a beautiful place to live.

“I’m appalled that the President used my city to justify his unacceptable decision, as most other Pittsburghers are,” Mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement. “My city, which has finally bounced back from decades of industrial carnage, will do all it can to promote its own environmental standards.”

“As you can imagine, we are extremely disappointed,” said Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, CEO of Women for a Healthy Environment, a locally based not-for-profit organization.

There was a time – 30, 40 years ago – when Pittsburgh was synonymous with the country’s worst ills. Ringed by the smokestacks of US Steel, the city once choked on its own air and wanted for the kinds of regulations the Paris accord phases in worldwide.

“Back in the day we were known as ‘hell with the lid off’, and we had air pollution that impacted the entire region,” said Naccarati-Chapkis. “But this is a region that’s thriving and growing, and to depict it by its antiquated industrial past is really not a true reflection of what’s happening.”

However, since the steel mills mostly shut down in the 1980s, the city has been reinvented as a center for medical research, technology companies, healthcare – and environmental innovation.

“The president simply did not know what he was talking about,” said Court Gould, the executive director of the not-for-profit group Sustainable Pittsburgh.

“I listened to the speech and was aghast at the depiction of Pittsburgh as having an un-futuristic economy,” Gould said. “President Trump, who lost badly here in the election, is grossly off target in identifying Pittsburgh and associating it with his outmoded, irrelevant vision.”

But the strongest response to Trump’s claim that he represents Pittsburgh came from the city mayor himself, Bill Peduto, a Democrat.

Peduto pointed out that while Trump may claim to represent Pittsburgh, the city did not want him to be president.

“Fact: Hillary Clinton received 80% of the vote in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh stands with the world and will follow Paris agreement,” Peduto tweeted. “As the mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris agreement for our people, our economy and future.”

On Friday, Peduto issued an executive order committing Pittsburgh to the Paris climate accords, joining a movement that in only 24 hours swept up hundreds of cities, states and businesses.

RELATED: From Coast To Coast, Over 100 U.S. Cities Defy Trump And Adopt Paris Agreement — Here’s The List:

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