Major California fires have been burning for weeks, but Trump only took notice Sunday — and pivoted immediately to insulting the state.
Trump hasn't had much to say about California's major fires, which have been raging for weeks now. In fact, Sunday was the first time he's tweeted about the fires at all, and he used the tweets, predictably, to go after the state itself and its Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom.
Rather than express concern about the over 100,000 acres that have burned, the over 1 million people that had their power deliberately cut during the fire, or the new fires that broke out just this weekend, Trump spent time sending spiteful, blame-throwing tweets.
First, Trump went after Newsom specifically, saying he had done a "terrible job of forest management" and that Newsom must clean his forest floors "regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him." It's unclear why even Trump would believe that environmentalists want hundreds of thousands of acres to burn down.
Trump also gave Newsom advice on how to fight fires, saying the state "[m]ust also do burns and cut fire stoppers." Of course, CAL FIRE already engaged in those techniques, and more, in order to deprive fires of fuel.
Trump went on to complain about California asking for help, told Newsom to "[g]et your act together," and mused that "you don't see close to the level of burn in other states." There are reasons why this is the case. First, it's undisputed that climate change plays a role, making fires hotter and fire season longer. There's also the Santa Ana winds, strong dry winds that sweep across Southern California in the fall. Just because Trump doesn't believe in environmental factors doesn't mean they aren't real.
Finally, Trump is also mad about water lanes, telling Newsom to "open up the ridiculously closed water lanes" and "[d]on’t pour it out into the Pacific Ocean." He also told Californians that "California desperately needs water, and you can have it now!" Fortunately, the New York Times debunked this notion — that the underlying reason for forest fires was the state is dry after dumping water in the Pacific Ocean — last year. There is a fight over water in California, but it's between farmers and environmentalists, with the former wanting more water for irrigation of crops. There is no evidence there is a shortage of water for fighting fires.
There's a punch line to Trump's deliberate or inadvertent stupidity here, however. Only 3% of the woodlands in the state are owned and managed by California. The remainder is owned by the federal government and therefore overseen by Trump's own administration. Gavin Newsom presumably can't tell the federal government how to manage their forest lands.
California's fires are only going to get worse, and having Trump at the helm isn't helping.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.