President Donald Trump took to Twitter Sunday morning to attack California Governor Gavin Newsom for “a terrible job of forest management,” threatening to cut federal financial aid to the state even as wildfires continue to ravage the Golden State.
Newsweek notes that 57 percent of California’s forests are reportedly managed by the federal government, and the state only manages 2 percent of the state’s forests.
“I told him from the first day we met that he must ‘clean’ his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers,” Trump tweeted. “Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states.”
The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management. I told him from the first day we met that he must “clean” his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2019
Trump claimed last year that the president of Finland told him that his country rakes their forests clean and they don’t have a wildfire problem.
“I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We have a much different-We are a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation. And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things and they don’t have any problem. And you know when it is, it’s a very small problem, so I know everybody is looking at it to that end and it’s going to work out, it’s going to work out well,” Trump said. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö has since denied telling Trump that his citizens spend “a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things” to clear forest floors.
“I’m committed to make sure that, that all of this cleaned out and protected, you gotta take care of the floors,” he said at the time, making a sweeping motion with his hand. “You know the floors of the forest, very important. You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story.”
Trump also said on Twitter Sunday that teams are working well to put out the “massive, and many” fires.
“Great firefighters! Also, open up the ridiculously closed water lanes coming down from the North. Don’t pour it out into the Pacific Ocean. Should be done immediately. California desperately needs water, and you can have it now!” he tweeted.
The president’s tweets come as several wildfires burn in the northern and southern parts of the state.
“You don’t believe in climate change,” Newsom responded on Twitter. “You are excused from this conversation.”
Trump told reporters on Sunday that California fires are “eating away at California every year because management is so bad,” adding that they should have listened to his cleaning the forest floors advice he’s been preaching “for two years.”
“On top of it, you’ve got fires eating away at California every year because management is so bad,” Trump said. The governor doesn’t know, he’s like a child. He doesn’t know what he is doing. And I’ve been telling him this for two years. They’ve gotta take care of it. Every year it’s always California. Never – It’s rarely somebody else or someplace else.”
“But Nancy Pelosi oughta go back to her district and take care of it because her district has become a mess. Number one in the country for going down,” Trump claimed.
“I think, frankly that she should go home to San Francisco,” he continued. “If you look at what is happening to her district, her district is going to hell. With homeless that they’re not taking care of, with needles all over the streets, with tents, with people, with sanitation, with horrible things being washed into the ocean — the Pacific Ocean.”
California’s climate is the most variable in the continental United States, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Its annual “drought” or dry season––long associated with wildfire risk––lasts from late spring through early fall, irrespective of decision making by state leadership.
Last year, the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Montana discovered the intuitive but under-studied link between less rain and longer droughts to the severity of subsequent wildfires. The results were released as California’s deadly Camp Fire claimed more than 80 lives and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.
Meanwhile, the powerful, dry winds that propelled this season’s wildfire outbreak acted as a “an atmospheric hairdryer,” according to one meteorologist.