With wildfires devastating the West and a hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast, President Trump, who has for years mocked and denied the reality of climate change, was briefed on today on the status of fires in California.
During his briefing, which included California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, officials repeatedly invoked climate change and its impact on the state’s ability to manage the raging infernos.
Still, even as more than two dozen wildfires roared across California alone, Trump declined to acknowledge the role climate change likely played in fueling the flames.
“We’ve had temperatures explode this summer. … We want to work with you to really recognize the changing climate and what it means to our forests and actually work together with that science,” said Wade Crowfoot, California’s secretary for natural resources. “That science is going to be key because if we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed in protecting Californians.”
“It’ll start getting cooler. You just — you just watch,” the president said.
“I wish science agreed with you,” Crowfoot said.
“Well, I don’t think science knows, actually,” he said.
Calif. Sec. for Nat. Resources WADE CROWFOOT: “If we…think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed…”
TRUMP: “Ok, it’ll start getting cooler, you just watch.”
CROWFOOT: “I wish science agreed with you.”
TRUMP: “I don’t think science knows, actually.” pic.twitter.com/kNWJKhpJnu
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) September 14, 2020
Scientists have roundly concluded the Earth is warming, and many have said climate change has played a huge role in fueling the record wildfires that have ripped through cities and towns across the West Coast.
NASA offers extensive evidence of climate change on its website: ‘The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.’
Trump doesn’t buy the conclusion of experienced scientists, often insisting climate change is a “China hoax.”
‘We come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science is in and observed evidence is self-evident — that climate change is real,’ Newsom told Trump at today’s briefing.
Trump has been criticized for Democrats for not speaking out enough on the deadly fires while Democratic nominee Joe Biden has been criticized for not visiting the affected areas.
His running mate, Kamala Harris, will return to her home state of California tomorrow for a briefing on the fires.
Biden today called Trump a ‘climate arsonist,’ saying the president’s climate change denial is what’s really threatening the suburbs.
‘Donald Trump warned integration is threatening our suburbs. That’s ridiculous. But you know what is actually threatening our suburbs?’ Biden said Monday outside the Delaware Museum of Natural History. ‘Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the west, floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the midwest, hurricanes are imperiling suburban life along our coast.’
Trump, at campaign rallies in Nevada over the weekend, repeatedly said the fires are about ‘forest management,’ a characterization he has repeatedly offered of such blazes.
‘It is about forest management, please remember the words, very simply, forest management, please remember, about forest management, and other things,’ he said, also thanking the firefighters and first responders who are reacting to the fires.
Democratic governors – including Newsom, Washington’s Jay Inslee and Oregon’s Kate Brown – said the fires are a result of climate change.