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Trump withdrawal from Paris Agreement is smart politics, says former aide to George H.W. Bush

Mike Juang

It's smart politics for President Donald Trump to pull out of the Paris Agreement, a former White House aide to George H.W. Bush told CNBC on Friday.

"Donald Trump is playing to his base," Joe Watkins said in an interview with " Power Lunch ."

The Republican strategist said the base wants to hear Trump is undoing the actions of the previous administration, protecting jobs and the economy.

"For the short term he's angered them," said Watkins, "but for the long term I think it'll be okay for him."

"I think that when he retools a new deal and puts us back in, business will be happy and environmentalists will be happy as well," he added.

Watkins said part of Trump's resilience is his ability to turn around.

"Just because they didn't win today doesn't mean they won't win in the long term," Watkins said.

"He's stepping out and saying why: 'The people in Pittsburgh elected me, not the people in Paris, and I want to save jobs.'"

Watkins added: "He's paying attention to the base. He's remembering who brought him to the dance."

Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in fact, carried Pittsburgh by a large margin.

Watch: Fact-checking Trump's claims on Paris Agreement

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