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Peduto is 'offended' Trump mentioned Pittsburgh in climate speech

| Thursday, June 1, 2017, 6:24 p.m.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto as seen in July 2015
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto as seen in July 2015

President Trump thrust Pittsburgh into the international spotlight Thursday afternoon by referencing it in his speech about withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate pact.

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," Trump said about 20 minutes into the speech, drawing applause from those gathered in the White House Rose Garden.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto took to social media almost immediately to pan the remark.

"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," Peduto wrote on Twitter.

Peduto noted that Hillary Clinton overwhelmingly defeated Trump among city voters in the November election.

Allegheny County Elections Division records show Clinton collected 74.8 percent of the 155,104 votes cast by Pittsburghers, compared with 20.6 percent for Trump.

Even before Trump referenced Pittsburgh, Peduto had been critical about plans to withdraw the United States from the climate pact.

"The United States joins Syria, Nicaragua & Russia in deciding not to participate with world's Paris Agreement. It's now up to cities to lead," Peduto tweeted before Trump's speech began.

In a related news conference Thursday evening, Peduto said he was "personally offended" that Trump used Pittsburgh as an example.

"This city didn't support Donald Trump. This city does not support the initiatives that he is doing. This city is adamantly opposed to it, and for him to then use this city as his example of who he is elected to represent, he is not representing us at all, or not very well," Peduto said.

"In his speechwriters' mind, Pittsburgh is this dirty old town that relies on big coal and big steel to survive," Peduto said. "He completely ignores the sacrifices that we made over 30 years in order to get back 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. What he did is used us as this example of a stereotype in order to make a point, and it missed completely."

A White House spokesperson said in an email that Trump's speech was the "culmination of a long-standing campaign promise."

"The people of Pittsburgh, and the other hard-working American families across the country, are the families (Trump) is fighting for and who know that in this administration, America comes first," the spokesperson said.

Tom Fontaine and Bob Bauder are Tribune-Review staff writers.

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