Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden rebuked President Donald Trump’s dismissal of climate change Saturday, criticizing the White House for its failure to take bold action to battle wildfires that continue to tear across Western states.
“The science is clear, and deadly signs like these are unmistakable — climate change poses an imminent, existential threat to our way of life,” Biden said in a statement.
“President Trump can try to deny that reality, but the facts are undeniable. We absolutely must act now to avoid a future defined by an unending barrage of tragedies like the one American families are enduring across the West today.”
The White House on Saturday announced President Donald Trump will soon visit California, after Trump thanked firefighters and first responders in tweets on Friday for battling the deadly wildfires that have ravaged the West. The President will visit McClellan Park, California, for a briefing with local and federal fire and emergency officials, the White House confirmed to Politico.
The long-awaited move comes as the fires have raged for weeks —killing more than 27 people and charring homes and vast swaths of land.
In August, Trump approved disaster declaration for California and said during a news conference that the federal government had deployed over 26,000 first responders and personnel.
But in recent weeks, while Trump has taken to Twitter to put out other fires that could jeopardize his reelection — particularly related to revelations that he had intentionally misled the American public about the COVID-19 pandemic — he has not offered much comment about the flames engulfing millions of acres in the West.
In the tweet Friday, the President said that he had approved funds to support the brave work of those fighting wildfires on the frontlines, adding: “We are with them all the way!”
Prior to the Friday tweet, which did not acknowledge the direct suffering residents who have been hard hit by the fires, Trump had remained relatively quiet about publicly expressing condolences or otherwise providing leadership to victims of the fires.
His delayed acknowledgment of the wildfires, fits with his history of offering little reassurance or leadership amid natural disasters, including during a series of wildfires that tore through parts of California in 2018.
Miles Taylor, a former Trump DHS official who has publicly supported the Biden-Harris ticket, noted in a video clip for Republican Voters Against Trump, that amid wildfires in recent years, the President had pushed to cut emergency funding to California. During an ABC interview last month, Taylor said that the President justified the move privately because he believed many of the state’s voters had not supported his election in 2016.
The White House said roughly two dozen fire management grants have been approved since mid-August for Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Trump approved an emergency declaration for Oregon on Thursday.
“The President continues to support those who are battling raging wildfires in a locally-executed, state-managed, and federally-supported emergency response,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement Saturday.
Deere contended in the statement that the White House, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have remained in “constant contact” with state and local officials throughout the response to the fires.
A historic figure of more than 3.1 million acres have burned in California and thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes. Dozens of people are still unaccounted for amid the flames and smoke.