With the smell of California wildfires in the air, President Donald Trump on Monday ignored the scientific consensus that climate change is playing a central role and renewed his unfounded claim that poor forest management is mostly to blame for historic infernos roaring up and down the West Coast.
The fires are threatening to become another front in Trump’s reelection bid, which is already facing hurdles because of the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and social unrest. His Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, in his own speech on Monday said the destruction and mounting death toll across California, Oregon and Washington require stronger presidential leadership and labeled Trump a “climate arsonist.”
Trump traveled to Northern California to be briefed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state and federal officials. At one point, state Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot urged the president to “recognize the changing climate and what it means to our forests.”