Mr Trump, who has dismantled scores of environmental rules and rejected mainstream climate science since taking office, gave the speech as national support grows for strong environmental protection. He said the USA was a leader in providing clean drinking water, had slashed air pollution and was cutting carbon emissions while bolstering industry and reducing regulation.
He gave a laundry list of achievements, including stepped-up closure of Superfund sites, a push for worldwide action to clean up marine debris, and federal funding for environmental restoration of the Florida Everglades.
Among others called to the podium by Trump was the owner of a bait-and-tackle shop in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
The United States has become the world's biggest oil and gas producer over the last couple of years, thanks mainly to a technology-led drilling boom. "We continue to clean up the water", Wheeler said.
Samantha Gross, a fellow with the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, is bothered by Trump's assertion that previous administrations had to choose between protecting the environment and growing the economy.
President Donald Trump plans to bash the "Green New Deal" in an environmental speech on Monday in which he plans to showcase his administration's handling of climate change in a way that's economically efficient.
"His environmental record is clear - and terrible", said former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg in a statement. "When other nations need help cleaning up their land, water and air they turn to us - not China, not Russian Federation".
They have also criticized the administration for allowing the United States to slip on other basic measures of environmental health such as air pollution and enforcement.
In contrast, the American Lung Association's most recent State of the Air found air quality declining in recent years, as more cities suffer from higher levels of particle pollution ("soot") and ground-level ozone ("smog"), which increase in hot weather. "A changing climate is making it harder to protect human health", it said. Wheeler said that deal put more burdens on the United States than on other countries, and the USA would consider a more equitable agreement. The 2008 recession also led to a sharp slowdown in economic growth and demand for electricity.
The Trump administration has sought to pave the way for even more development by reducing regulatory red tape for the fossil fuels industries and expanding leasing on federal lands. It is far more limited in scope and could let some coal-fired power plants keep operating longer.
"We have made a lot of advancements, and the environment is getting cleaner under the leadership of President Trump and this administration", said Andrew Wheeler, director of the Environmental Protection Agency.
"This president does care about the environment, and he's doing something about it".
The US also slipped in the global environmental rankings to No. 27 in 2018 from 26th during the a year ago of the Obama administration, according to the Environmental Performance Index, a project by Yale and Columbia universities to measure national performance on air, water, forestry and other metrics.
Trump took another shot of the Green New Deal environmental plan, backed by a number of Democratic Party lawmakers, saying it would "cost our economy $100 trillion". Extreme rain events are happening more often because of the warming climate.