James Mattis, seeking to calm world leaders Saturday following President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, urged them to "bear with us," the Guardian reports. The Defense secretary, paraphrasing Winston Churchill, said Americans will do the right thing "once we have exhausted all possible alternatives." Mattis was speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, according to the Hill. The conference is a major forum on security and the main topic was North Korea, but Mattis was repeatedly asked about the US' commitment to the rest of the world following Trump's decision on the Paris climate agreement and earlier decision to leave the Trans-Pacific trade agreement.
While Mattis explained that some Americans think the US bears an "inordinate burden" on the global stage, he said American isolationism is a thing of the past. "Like it or not, we are a part of the world," Reuters quotes the Defense secretary as saying. "What a crummy world if we all retreat inside our borders." Mattis assured international leaders that Trump leaving the Paris climate agreement "does not mean we are turning our back" on the world. "We will still be there with you," he said. It's unclear if the forum's attendees believed him, pointing out that he appeared to be saying the opposite of the American president.