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Pittsburgh Mayor: Trump Misrepresented Our City's Economy

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he took personal offense to President Donald Trump's reference to the Steel City in announcing the United States' departure from the Paris climate agreement.

By Adam Smeltz

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he took personal offense to President Donald Trump's reference to the Steel City in announcing the United States' departure from the Paris climate agreement.

In remarks Thursday afternoon at the White House, Trump said, in part, that he was "elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris."

Peduto said the phrase marked "really sloppy speechwriting" that portrayed his city as "this dirty old town that relies upon big coal and big steel to survive."

"He completely ignores the sacrifices that we made over 30 years in order to get back up on our feet, in order to be creating a new economy, in order to make the sacrifices to clean our air and clean our water," Peduto told reporters in his Downtown office.

He said that Trump "used us as this example of a stereotype in order to make a point _ and it missed completely."

Further, Peduto said, Pittsburgh will continue to follow the principles of the nonbinding Paris accord, which aims to slow global warming. The Peduto administration will announce Friday an executive order "that will guide the city through the (Paris) agreements" and follow Pittsburgh's own plans for carbon emissions and renewable energy, he said.

Earlier Thursday, Peduto landed widespread attention on social media for tweeting initial responses to Trump's Pittsburgh reference. He pointed to Hillary Clinton's substantial support in the city in the November general election, adding that Pittsburgh "stands with the world."

Some of Peduto's remarks had been retweeted 54,000 times by 6:40 p.m.

Trump "didn't come anywhere close to winning Pittsburgh," Peduto told reporters. "If he would've said Fayette County or he would've said Greene County _ yeah, sure. But what he said was Pittsburgh, and the people of Pittsburgh voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton _ 80 percent."

Earlier, Peduto responded on Twitter within the hour, posting first that "Hillary Clinton received 80 percent of the vote in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh stands with the world & will follow Paris Agreement."

He followed up a few minutes later: "As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future." As of 5 p.m., that remark had been retweeted 29,000 times.

Peduto, a Democrat, has publicly countered the Trump administration before, including at a midday news conference Thursday that reiterated Pittsburgh's emphasis on civil rights and welcoming immigrants.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, responded to Peduto's tweet, agreeing with what the mayor said. She wrote: Once again @realDonaldTrump is wrong. #Paris & #Pittsburgh do stand together for the #ParisAgreement #Cities4Climate

(c)2017 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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