Trump has a surprise for Florida he’s hoping to keep secret until after the election

  • President Donald Trump participates in a roundtable conversation about race relations and policing at Gateway Church Dallas Campus on Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Dallas. (Smiley N. Pool/Dallas Morning News/TNS)

President Donald Trump’s re-election hinges on winning a handful of toss-up states in November, including Florida, where the lifelong New Yorker recently became a resident and where his beloved Mar-a-Lago resort is located.

But he also stubbornly clings to the notion that the U.S. needs to lead the world in the production of fossil fuels, the burning of which endangers the human habitability of much of the planet.

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So he has his eye on expanding offshore drilling to the eastern Gulf of Mexico, which just happens to include the west coast of Florida, a state whose economy relies heavily on tourism (see Mar-a-Lago) and that objected so strenuously to an earlier offshore drilling plan that then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke backed off.

So what is an egocentric president driven to win re-election at all costs to do?

Simple — don’t let Florida voters know about the new plan until two or three weeks after the November election, according to Politico.

Machiavelli had nothing on this guy.

Trump’s energy policies reflect, fittingly, a dinosaurish approach to how the nation ought to be producing and consuming energy.

The overwhelming scientific consensus is that burning fossil fuels has added so much carbon and other emissions to the atmosphere that we are increasing global temperatures, altering climate and weather patterns and melting glaciers and polar ice caps, which is raising sea levels and will lead to massively disruptive and dangerous incursions of the oceans into cities and coastal regions that are home to billions of people.

Pshaw, says Trump.

What do the scientists know?

Still, he’s not foolish enough to tell Florida voters that he intends to allow drilling in an area that exposes hundreds of miles of their beaches, estuaries and keys to potentially devastating oil leaks.

Anyone remember the Deepwater Horizon disaster? The Santa Barbara blowout?

A president who has the best interests of the nation at the forefront of his decision making process would, instead of seeking to expand production of fossil fuels, begin through regulations to reduce its production and our reliance on it.

At the same time, he or she would work to expand production of renewable energy and the infrastructure to achieve the vital goal of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to as close to zero as we can.

And lead the rest of the world in making the same conversion.

But we don’t have that president.

For now.

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Florida voters, I hope you’re paying attention.

Scott Martelle, a veteran journalist and author of six history books, is a member of the Los Angeles Times editorial board.

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