Trump backed environmental policy pushed by trade group after it spent over $700K at one of his properties: watchdog group
President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at the White House. (AFP / Roberto SCHMIDT)

In the wake of President Trump's 2017 announcement that he planned to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, his administration made a behind-the-scenes decision to back an Obama-era environmental policy that sought to limit refrigerants and coolants that contribute to climate change. But according to the government watchdogs Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the decision came after the trade group that heavily lobbied for the policy spent over $700,000 at Trump National Doral resort in Miami in 2017.

The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is a trade group that lobbies on the behalf of heating and cooling product manufacturers. According to CREW, it spent $700,650 for its Annual Meeting event in 2017 at the resort.

"The giant payment coincides with ramped up lobbying spending by the AHRI in Washington, DC including lobbying the White House around the time of the event," CREW reports. "The timing of the event is conspicuous because less than two weeks after the November meeting, the Trump administration announced its support for a policy the AHRI had lobbied in favor of."

As CREW points out, the policy was a key component of President Barack Obama’s climate agenda and was antithetical to Trump's usual rhetoric about climate change. CREW acknowledges that there's no direct evidence that Trump made the decision for financial gain, but the series of events shows what happens when a president refuses to divulge from previous business interests.

Read CREW's report here.