Trump disputes climate change role in deadly blazes: ‘I don’t think science knows’
Biden derides president as 'climate arsonist'
McCLELLAN PARK, Calif. (AP) — As the acrid odor of California wildfires fouled the air, President Donald Trump scoffed anew Monday at the scientific consensus that climate change is playing a central role in West Coast infernos.
Instead, Trump reiterated to reporters at Sacramento McClellan Airport his unfounded claim that poor forest management is to blame for the fires that have consumed millions of acres and killed at least 35 people in the Golden State, Oregon and Washington state in recent weeks.
The president insists that failure to rake forest floors and clear dead timber are mostly to blame for the seasonal blazes in coastal states.
Trump traveled to California for a briefing on the fires, which are threatening to become another front in Trump’s reelection quest, which already is facing hurdles because of the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and social unrest.
Meanwhile, his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, derided Trump as a “climate arsonist” during his own speech on the fires Monday. Biden said the mounting death toll and increasing destruction require strong presidential leadership that he said Trump isn’t providing.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state and federal officials were briefing Trump on the situation.
At one point, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot urged the president to “recognize the changing climate and what it means to our forests.”
“If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together protecting Californians,” Crowfoot said.
Trump responded, “It will start getting cooler — just you watch.”
Crowfoot pushed back respectfully, saying he wished the science agreed with the president.
Trump countered, “I don’t think science knows, actually.”
Trump’s suggestion that the planet is going to start to cool unexpectedly defies reality, experts say.
“Maybe there is a parallel universe where a pot on the stove with the burner turned to high ‘starts getting cooler.’ But that is not our universe,” said Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field.
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