Prominent Democrats on the West Coast on Sunday took aim at President Trump a day after he told rallygoers in Minden, Nevada that the wildfires raging in the region can be blamed on lack of “forest management.”
“It is about forest management. Please remember the words, very simply: forest management. Please remember, about forest management, and other things,” Trump said on Saturday, as he continues dismissing climate change as a cause behind the wildfires that are burning across several Western states and forcing thousands to evacuate.
On Saturday, the White House announced Trump will visit California on Monday — a long-awaited move as the fires have destroyed millions of acres in the West for weeks.
The next day, Democrats joined Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in rebuking Trump’s dismissal of climate change and criticizing the White House for its failure to take bold action to battle wildfires engulfing 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 on Saturday.
Here’s how they weighed in:
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D)
During an interview on CNN, Garcetti refuted Trump’s repeated characterization of wildfires as simply a “forest management” issue.
“It’s been very clear that years of drought, as we’re seeing, whether it’s too much water and too much rain in parts of our country right now, or too little,” Garcetti said.”This is climate change and this is an administration that’s put its head in the sand.”
Garcetti added that the Trump administration is hosting “the last vestiges of the flat Earth society of this generation” before demanding “real action” and calling Trump out for stoking a baseless assertion.
“We need to reduce the carbon emissions that we have, and we need to make sure we can manage that water,” Garcetti said. “This is not about just forest management or raking. Anybody who lives here in California is insulted by that, quite frankly, and (Trump) keeps perpetrating this lie.”
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti on Pres. Trump’s upcoming visit to CA as wildfires spread across the state: “He’s going to come out here and probably tell us, 'I’m going to send you rakes instead of more help.' We need actual help … not based on our party affiliation.” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/GV4HnG3eBV
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) September 13, 2020
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Much like Garcetti, Merkley told ABC News that Trump’s unfounded “forest management” claim behind the raging wildfires as a “big and devastating lie.”
“The Cascade snowpacks have gotten smaller. Our forests have gotten drier. Our ocean has gotten warmer and more acidic. And this has been happening steadily over the last several decades,” Merkley said. “These are consequences of a warming planet that have huge impacts, huge impacts on rural America, with our forests, with our farming, with our fishing. This should not be blue or red. This should not be rural or urban. This is devastating to everyone.”
Merkley then said that the country needs a President who follows science.
“Just on COVID, we need to have a President follow the science. We need to have a president now who follows the science on global warming,” Merkley said. “America not only has to get its own act in order. It has to help lead the world to take this on. This is a planetary-scale tragedy of the commons that we need leadership to end.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley tells @GStephanopoulos that Trump blaming the wildfires on “forest management” is “just a big and devastating lie.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 13, 2020
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D)
After saying that it’s “maddening” for the President to deny climate change, Inslee urged voters in the November election to vote out Trump “who has downplayed climate change, just like he’s downplayed COVID.”
“And for Donald Trump to say he’s a hero of climate change is like saying he’s a hero of masks against COVID,” Inslee said.
The Washington governor then rebuked Trump suggesting that “somehow we could have solved this problem by timber thinning” as “just a bunch of malarkey.”
Inslee recalled how he visited Bridgeport, Washington, a town that lost about 20 home, on Saturday and that the wildfires there came from grass, bunchgrass, cheatgrass and sagebrush.
“It doesn’t have a dang thing to do with thinning timber,” Inslee said. “It’s just a bunch of malarkey.”
Inslee conceded that there are places “where it makes sense that we thin our timber,” which he insisted Washington state is doing, before slamming the Trump administration for refusing to”help us actually finance that” because “they just want an excuse.”
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D)
Although Brown was pressed specifically about former Oregon lawmakers writing op-eds in The Washington Post that dismiss climate change and instead blame the wildfires raving the state on the failure of its government to prepare, Brown told CBS about how she stood up a fire council about two and a half years ago after Republicans wouldn’t take action following the council’s report.
“Folks came together, Republicans, Democrats, to tackle the issues. The council had an extensive report and called for extensive investments in our communities, harvesting and thinning,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, the Republicans walked away from the legislative session and we were unable to get that done.”
Brown then argued that the wildfires can’t simply be blamed on forest mismanagement.
“It’s both,” Brown said. “It’s decades of mismanagement of our forests in this country, and it is the failure to tackle climate change. We need to do both. And we can.”
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) September 13, 2020