Tal Kopan and Sarah Ravani write:
President Trump will visit California on Saturday to meet with people who have suffered losses in the state’s wildfires, the White House said Thursday.
“The president will travel to California this Saturday to meet with individuals impacted by the wildfires,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement. “We will keep you updated on details as they are available.”
They’re probably scouting out golf courses and places to buy rolls of paper towels.
Jerry Brown could do the Golden State one more good turn in these last two months of his fourth term as governor by hiding the welcome mat, meeting Trump at whichever airport he flies into, and sending him scuttling back to Mar-a-Lago. That would no doubt violate some rule of federal-state etiquette. “So, sue me,” Brown could say.
The last thing we need here this weekend is this pathetic climate science denier mouthing off about how to handle wildfires. He’s already had his say in that matter, and he was wrong.
Before the two biggest fires were even slightly contained, and the death toll had not risen to the 66 now tallied, Trump tweeted:
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
Another example of his heartless malevolence.
Hector Becerra wrote the same day in the Los Angeles Times:
“The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines,” [California Professional Firefighters President Brian] Rice said in a statement.
“At this moment, thousands of our brother and sister firefighters are putting their lives on the line to protect the lives and property of thousands. Some of them are doing so even as their own homes lay in ruins. In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines,” he added.
It wasn’t the first time Trump had given us his expert opinion on forest management. He did so in August, too. And in October, during a cabinet meeting, he said: “I say to the governor, or whoever is going to be the governor of California, you better get your act together. We’re just not going to continue to pay the kind of money we’re paying because of fires that should never be to the extent.”
Scientists say that forest management had nothing to do with the Camp Fire, the worst in state history. It has killed at least 63 people and burned at least 6,400 residential and other structures in Paradise, a city of 27,000 that was 80 to 90 percent incinerated, according to the mayor. And 631 people are still unaccounted for. The fire began at the edge of the Plumas National Forest which had been thinned just 10 years ago. Paradise is itself in a wildland-urban interface, what fire experts label where human building verges on or mingles with undeveloped natural land. A third of the nation’s 44 million houses have been built in a wildland-urban interface, according the Department of Agriculture. Forest management also didn’t have anything to do with the wildland-urban interface Woolsey Fire that has killed three people in southern California. Or the Tubbs fire in 2017, the second worst in state history, which killed 22.
The implication that the state should be penalized for these fires is especially grotesque given that just 3 percent of California’s forests are owned by state agencies. Fifty-seven percent are owned and managed by the Forest Service and the Department of Interior. The Trump regime’s original 2019 budget proposal includes elimination of the USDA’s State and Private Cooperative Forestry division including Urban and Community Forestry. But fires don’t obey political boundaries. Dumping the programs in that division would increase the risk of wildfires jumping from state, tribal, or privately owned forest land into National Forests. How’s that for forest management?
And, naturally, in a regime brimful of climate science deniers, the fact that scientists are saying these two fires would not have been nearly so bad had it not been for climate change is being utterly ignored at the White House.
So, stay home this weekend, Donnie. Tweet some crap about the Mueller investigation or how the real reason you hid out in your Paris hotel from Armistice Day ceremonies wasn’t to avoid getting your hair wet in the rain or how you’re having second thoughts about how swell a guy North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is.
But leave us the hell alone.
A burned neighborhood in #ParadiseFire:
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) November 16, 2018
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.