President Donald Trump shakes hands with Vice President Mike Pence prior to announcing his decision regarding the United States’ participation in the Paris Climate Accord in the Rose Garden at the White House, June 1, in Washington, D.C. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the accord, which former President Barack Obama and the leaders of 194 other countries signed in 2015. The agreement is intended to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit global warming to a manageable level. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The “terrible” Paris climate deal would have given a virtual “free pass” to India and China and cost the U.S. economy more than 6.5 million jobs, said Vice President Mike Pence, June 21, writes Lalit K. Jha.

“This President put America first not long ago when President Trump made the decision to withdraw the United States of America from the Paris Climate Accord,” Pence said in his remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers 2017 Manufacturing Summit.

President Trump earlier this month announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris agreement on climate change, saying the “draconian” deal unfairly punished America and benefited countries like India and China.

Pence defended Trump’s decision and said by withdrawing America from “this terrible deal,” President Trump put America first.

“You know, one independent study found that the Paris Accord would have actually cost the U.S. economy more than 6.5 million manufacturing jobs in the next 25 years while giving countries like China and India virtually a free pass,” Pence said.

“He left the door opening to renegotiating the deal or coming up with a different agreement. But he put America first, and I promise the manufacturers in this room that President Donald Trump always will,” Pence said.

He said Trump has put a renewed emphasis on American energy.

“He approved the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines early in this administration, and the Dakota Pipeline is already rolling and Keystone is being built as we speak,” Pence said.

“President Trump is fighting every day to make sure that American manufacturers have affordable, abundant, and reliable energy that you need to power your factories and power our future,” Pence said amidst applause from the audience.