Summary List Placement
President Donald Trump has found time in recent days to rail against his critics, retweet memes, and watch hours of Fox News opinion programming.
But he hasn’t said a word for weeks — on Twitter or at his regular campaign rallies — about the deadly, record-breaking wildfires ravaging California, Oregon, and Washington, and other Western states.
California is experiencing its worst fires on record. It’s only the beginning of fire season and more than 3 million acres have already burned — breaking the previous record of 1.67 million acres in 2018. Hundreds of thousands of people across the West have been forced to evacuate, thousands of homes have been lost, and millions more people are blanketed in toxic smoke as states run out of resources to battle the blazes. At least 15 people have been killed by the fires in California, Oregon, and Washington.
The last public comment the president made about the fires was during a scripted press conference nearly three weeks ago when he announced he’d approved California’s request for a major disaster declaration and sent federal resources to aid the state.
Three days before that, Trump attacked California, misleadingly blaming the state’s forest management for its fires. He repeated his false argument that the fires could be prevented by “cleaning” forests of flammable brush and threatened to withhold federal assistance.
“They’re starting again in California,” Trump told supporters in Pennsylvania on August 20. “I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up.”
He went on, “Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us.”
Trump’s claims about fire prevention — which he also made amid fires in 2018 and 2019 — are misleading at best.
California’s fires could hardly be contained by clearing wood and debris. Scientists say record heat and drought in, in part a result of climate change, are major factors contributing to the intensity of the fires, which are burning a variety of landscapes.
On Thursday, White House spokesman Judd Deere announced the president had called California Gov. Gavin Newsom “to express his condolences for the loss of life & reiterate the Administration’s full support.”
“The Federal government continues to support our western neighbors who are battling raging wildfires in a locally-executed, state-managed, and federally-supported emergency response,” Deere said in a statement to Business Insider on Friday. “President Trump is closely monitoring and continues to urge individual emergency preparedness and citizens in impacted areas to listen to the warnings of State and local officials.”
He added that a presidential visit to affected areas “would not be wise as it would divert key first responder resources away from the fire fight.”
It’s unclear why the president is largely silent on the fires. But it could have something to do with the fact that the most affected states are Democratic strongholds. He’s also refused to address …read more
Source:: Business Insider