President Donald Trump made a stop in Sacramento Monday, to meet with Gov. Gavin Newsom and discuss as the state’s historic wildfires.
Air Force One landed at McClellan Airport, which now serves as a Northern California hub for the collaborative firefighting efforts led by Cal Fire and the United States Forest Service.
President Trump’s visit comes on the heels of Governor Newsom calling the historic wildfires a “climate damn emergency.”
Trump has been critical about California’s lack of forest management, and spoke to Gov. Newsom about it last year during a visit to the state to assess the wildfires. “Please remember the words, very simple. Forest management. Please remember that,” Trump said ahead of Monday’s meeting.
The two seemed to politely share barbs during the meeting. “Have to do a lot about forest management,” the President said at the press conference. “It has to be good. I’ve been talking about this for three years.”
“When you have years of leaves, dried leaves on the ground, it just sets it up. It’s really a fuel for a fire,” the President said. He noted that the brush and dead trees in California’s forests are “like a matchstick.”
Gov. Newsom appeared to take umbrage with Trump’s calls for forest management. The governor rattled off statistics about the current fires: “14,000 lightening strikes, 1,100 fires, 3.2 million acres, 16,500 firefighters fighting and National Guard, 24 lives lost, 4,200 structures destroyed, 44,000 people evacuated. “The hots are getting hotter, the dries are getting drier… something happened to the plumbing of the world. Climate change is real and exacerbating this,” Newsom said.
“Please respect the difference of opinion out here,” Newsom added.
Gov. Newsom’s Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot told the president he should acknowledge the role of climate change in the worsening of the wildfires. “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 together protecting Californians,” Crowfoot said. He then said something about record heat in August.
“Ok, it’ll start getting cooler, you just watch,” Trump said.
“I wish science agreed with you,” added Crowfoot.
“I don’t think science knows, actually,” Trump responded.
Crowfoot’s climate change chops were developed over many years in California government. He was a key player in former California Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2015 climate compact with the Governors of Oregon and Washington and the British Columbia Premier, when they signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, “to align climate change policies and promote clean energy,” California Globe reported in 2019. The Pacific Coast Collaborative was technically an illegal compact which linked with the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (WCX), formed to promote “the type of new thinking necessary to solve the West Coast’s infrastructure crisis.” And the WCX was linked to the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative.
The Democratic governors of California, Oregon and Washington also say climate change is to blame for the wildfires, as the Pacific Coast Climate Compact reiterates.
During a CA visit, @realDonaldTrump called for better forest management, saying dry, fallen trees & leaves create "explosive" conditions.
"I think something's possible…" pic.twitter.com/HUWy4M3gjf
— The Issue Is (@TheIssueIsShow) September 14, 2020
Despite the climate change compact between California, Oregon and Washington, the West Coast states are experiencing historic wildfires, which are burning hotter and faster than ever before. As California Globe contributor Edward Ring reported this week, it isn’t climate change that caused these super fires – it was negligent forestry and mismanagement.
The Trump administration says the causes of the fires are misguided and largely non-existent forest management.
However, Trump Victory Spokesperson Keith Schipper said Monday, “the Trump Administration continues to support Californians every step of the way through the containment of wildfires across the West Coast. President Trump will always put the health and safety of the American people first.”
President Trump has approved a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for California that began back on August 14 for individual and public assistance. The declaration lays out the funding and assistance available.
The Trump Administration has also approved 34 Fire Management Assistance Grants since August that provide 75% Federal cost share for the mitigation, management, and control of fires, in coordination with state and local officials.
The Federal Government has deployed more than 26,000 personnel from 500+ crews and 1,900 engines to respond to fires, 230 helicopters, a RC-26 Aircraft, and 2 C-130 air tankers to support wildfire operations.
FEMA’s National and Regional Response Coordination Centers have also been activated to coordinate with local governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.
President Trump also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross to seven members of the California National Guard who helped rescue more than 200 people trapped by the wildfires earlier this month.
THANK YOU to the firefighters, service members, and first responders working to put out the California wildfires. pic.twitter.com/a3cgSMoGy3
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 14, 2020
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