WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — The Trump administration on Friday defended its decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said the U.S. is on the right track regarding carbon emissions and that the Paris accord was simply a bad deal, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.

The 2015 pact involved 195 countries agreeing to limit carbon emissions.

“The president made a very courageous decision yesterday on behalf of America,” Pruitt said. “He put America’s interests first, with respect to environmental agreements and international discussions.”

President Donald Trump Signs Bills At The White House

Flanked by law enforcement officials, President Donald Trump participates in a bill signing in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on June 2, 2017. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Pruitt insisted the U.S. has been taking the lead when it comes to lessening the nation’s carbon footprint.

“We have reduced our CO2 footprint to levels of the early 1990s,” he said. “In fact, from 2000 to 2014, we reduced our carbon footprint by over 18 percent.”

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Trump did not address the matter when he signed two bills at the White House to help protect veterans and first responders.

Critics, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, who signed the Paris agreement, say the move will hurt the nation for years to come

“What Donald Trump is doing is serving the polluters and serving a narrow group of ideological interests,” he said. “That’s not leadership. That’s abdication of responsibility.”

Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, rejected Kerry’s denouncement.

“Once a politician, always a politician,” she told Fox News. “I think it’s a very disappointing assessment. And it tells you why he lost when he ran for president.”

The White House would still not answer questions Friday on the president’s view on climate change and whether he still believes his campaign statement that it’s a “hoax.”

“What the president is focused on is making sure that we have clean water, clean air and making sure that we have the best deal for the American workers,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

In a separate matter, Spicer would not say whether the president might invoke executive privilege to prevent former FBI Director James Comey from testifying before Congress next week.

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