Former Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the only solution to President Donald Trump’s failures of leadership would be for him to resign.
CNBC's Tania Bryer interviewed Kerry, also a former senator from Massachusetts, for a CNBC-sponsored panel called "The Future of Our Oceans." Kerry focused on climate change in a highlight video from the panel posted by CNBC, in which he blasted Trump for pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement he helped negotiate during the Obama administration.
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When he was pressed on what advice he would give Trump, Kerry questioned the premise that Trump would ever listen to him.
"I can’t play that," Kerry said, stuttering. "He doesn't take any of this seriously, he doesn’t have an ability to have that kind of conversation."
"What would your message be?" Bryer asked.
"Resign," he replied after stammering for a moment. The audience applauded loudly.
Beforehand, Kerry argued that the meaninglessness of the climate accords was what made Trump foolish to pull out. Kerry explained the agreement did not impose any actual burden on the United States, and therefore Trump could have stayed in without any trouble. However, Kerry also agreed that the future of the world was hanging in the balance.
"When the president says it puts a burden on us—no. We are assuming a de minimis level of what we ought to be doing, and the burden that is being put on the people of the world as well as the United States is the burden of ignorance to science," he said.
He also chided the world for a "mutual suicide pact" between countries not doing enough to stop climate change. Emissions from China dwarf those of the United States and European Union countries, which have prioritized environmental concerns more than developing nations.
"We are not doing what is necessary to save the planet: It sounds enormous, sounds dramatic, draconian—this is real, folks. This is what scientists are telling us," Kerry said.
He also said there should be the ability to take legal action against Trump for making a decision that will "cost lives."
"I wish there was a lawsuit capacity that could hold people liable for such an instance decision as he has made, which will cost lives. People will die because of the president's decision," he said.