Biden argued Monday that natural disasters will "become more common, more devastating and more deadly" if Trump wins another term

By Sean Neumann
September 15, 2020 12:30 PM
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President Donald Trump (right) participates in a briefing on wildfires with California Gov. Gavin Newsom (left) at Sacramento McClellan Airport on Monday.
Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock

President Donald Trump continued to downplay the dangers of climate change, this time while in a Monday meeting with California lawmakers and scientists after millions of acres across the state have already burned this year in deadly wildfires.

"It'll start getting cooler. You just watch,” Trump, 74, told Wade Crowfoot, the California secretary for natural resources.

"I wish science agreed with you," Crowfoot, 46, responded.

Trump told him: "I don't think science knows, actually.”

The back-and-forth during a roundtable on the raging fires across California, Oregon and Washington highlighted the president’s continued dismissal of climate science.

At roughly the same time, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called Trump a “climate arsonist” while speaking outside a Wilmington, Delaware, museum and warned that natural disasters would continue escalating if Trump is re-elected in November.

"Donald Trump's climate denial may not have caused these fires and record floods and record hurricanes,” said Biden, 77, “but if he gets a second term these hellish events will continue to become more common, more devastating and more deadly.”

Trump has a history of disputing the scientific consensus on climate change (as well as attacking windmills, complaining about water flow in showerheads and knocking energy-efficient light bulbs, among other statements).

He has also made false claims about the COVID-19 pandemic and contradicted federal health guidance.

President Donald Trump (second from left) speaks during a California wildfire briefing at Sacramento McClellan Airport on Monday.
Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock

As with past wildfires, the president contended again on Monday that the destructive blazes on the West Coast, exacerbated by climate change, have instead been caused by improper maintenance of the forests.

Before meeting with California officials about the ongoing fires, Trump was asked by a reporter about the extent to which he believes climate change is causing the disaster.

"Well, I think this is more of a management situation," Trump said, according to CNN.

"If you look at other countries, if you go to other countries in Europe, Austria, Finland ... they're forest nations," he continued. "They're in forests and they don't have problems like this."

Scientists on Monday immediately objected to Trump’s denial of climate change.

“Maybe there is a parallel universe where a pot on the stove with the burner turned to high ‘starts getting cooler,’ " Chris Field, a Stanford University climate scientist, told the Associated Press. “But that is not our universe.”

From left: California Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Donald Trump participate in a briefing on wildfires at Sacramento McClellan Airport on Monday.
Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock

California Gov. Gavin Newsom stressed his respect in trying to meet Trump halfway, agreeing that forest management is an issue but not “the issue” causing the West Coast fires. (He also pointed out that 57 percent of the state's forest lands are owned by the federal government.)

"We come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science is in and observed evidence is self-evident that climate change is real and that is exacerbating this," Newsom said to Trump on Monday. "I think there's an area of at least commonality on vegetation and forest management, but please respect — and I know you do — the difference of opinion out here as it relates to this fundamental issue, on the issue of climate change."

Agreeing to disagree, Trump responded: “Absolutely.”

To help communities facing destructive wildfires in the Western U.S., consider donating to the following organizations:

• The American Red Cross allows donors to direct funds to support people impacted by the fires.

• GlobalGiving’s Wildfire Relief offers emergency funding to local efforts providing essentials to wildfire victims in need.

• GoFundMe’s California Wildfire Relief Fund aims to “support a range of needs” by issuing “grants to individuals, organizations and communities that have either been impacted themselves or are dedicated to helping.“

• The California Fire Foundation “provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect."