President Trump was a no show at a crucial session on climate change, biodiversity, and the devastating fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, on Monday. Trump’s chair was empty as leaders discussed developing a $20 million emergency fund to help countries affected by the Amazon fires. Trump aides had suggested earlier in the summit that the agenda set by French president Emmanuel Macron was meant to embarrass Trump by focusing on what they called “niche issues” like climate change and gender equality. When asked if he had attended, Trump told reporters, “We’re having it in a little while,” according to the Guardian. He then did not answer a reporter who informed him that the climate meeting had already ended. A White House spokesperson said a senior member of the Trump administration had attended instead.
Later in the day, Trump claimed to be the greatest environmentalist to ever be president while taking questions from reporters. When asked what he thinks the world “should be doing about climate change,” and whether he still harbors skepticism about climate science, Trump did not respond to either question, but instead boasted about America’s “tremendous wealth.” “The wealth is under its feet,” Trump said, alluding to oil and gas deposits. The president specifically mentioned his administration’s approval of drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, stating: “I was able to get ANWR approved—Ronald Reagan wasn’t able to do it.” Latest profit estimates from the federal government show the refuge yielding less than half the revenue that the White House originally claimed it would.