U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Friday President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement was "courageous" and urged Americans not to apologize for the decision.
"We have nothing to be apologetic about as a country," Pruitt told reporters at a White House media briefing.
Pruitt said the president heard "many voices" about climate change and exercised "thoughtful deliberation" before deciding to withdraw from the landmark accord.
Pruitt did not respond directly to a question about whether Trump believes human-caused global warming is a hoax, as Trump did during his presidential campaign, instead emphasizing the agreement "did put us at an economic disadvantage."
The environmental chief said Trump has indicated he will continue to study the issue and make one of two decisions in the future.
"He's going to either re-enter Paris, or engage in a discussion around a new deal with a commitment to putting America first," he said.
Pruitt acknowledged that global warming is a real phenomenon and that "human activity contributes to it in some manner.
He added it is "very challenging," however, to accurately measure the extent of human contribution to global warming.