THEN: Trump promised to honor "legacy of Theodore Roosevelt." NOW: Teddy who?

Trump speaks at a 2016 "victory rally" in December 2016.

Credit: C-SPAN.

Almost exactly a year before executing the largest rollback of public lands protection in history, then-President-elect Trump claimed he would honor the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt and "conserve and protect our beautiful natural resources"

Less than a month after winning the election, with conservationists still trying to suss out his positions on some key issues, President-elect Trump claimed his administration would honor the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt and "conserve and protect our beautiful natural resources for the next generation including protecting lands." 

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The remarks came during a triumphant speech in North Carolina on Dec. 6, 2016, amid a list of promises about how Trump would conduct business over the coming four years. 

It was not the first time Trump and his surrogates paid lip-service to the importance of public lands. But in retrospect, and considering the odd synchronicity that he gave the speech almost exactly a year before announcing his decision to effectively eliminate Bears Ears and vast portions of Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, the words remain stunning. 

Theodore Roosevelt, of course, championed and signed into law the Antiquities Act, which provided the legal rubric under which Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante were established as national monuments. Trump has declared war on the very idea behind that law, and, indeed, on the notion that public lands are much more than fertile ground for oil, gas, coal, timber and other development.


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