During a press conference in Paradise, California this Saturday while standing amidst the devastation brought by the recent wildfires, President Trump made a point to mention that Finland, according to him, doesn’t have the same problem with wildfires because they spend “a lot of time on raking.”
“You’ve got to take care of the floors. 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 said while standing alongside California Governor Jerry Brown and Governor-elect Gavin Newsom.
“I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We have a much different—we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things,” Trump said, making a moving motion with his hand. “And they don’t have any problem.”
“And when it is, it’s a very small problem,” he continued. “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.”
REPORTER: What can be done to prevent wildfires?
TRUMP: "We have to take care of floors of the forest..in our countries they do it definitely & different story. I was w/president of Finland…they spend lots of time raking & cleaning & doing things & they don't have a problem." pic.twitter.com/a7KGRhPhb6
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 17, 2018
Trump’s comments during the Saturday press conference reflect comments he made in a Fox News interview that’s set to air this Sunday.
“I was watching the firemen the other day and they were raking areas, they were raking areas where the fire was right over there,” the president complained in a preview clip highlighted by Newsweek. “And they’re raking trees, little trees like this that are not trees, little bushes that you could see are totally dry. Weeds. And they’re raking them, they’re on fire. That should have been all raked out. You wouldn’t have the fires.”
As of today, the death toll for the “Camp Fire” in Northern California stands at 71 with 1,011 people missing. The fire is reportedly now 55 percent contained after consuming more than 148,000 acres. In Southern California, just north of Los Angeles, the “Woolsey Fire” is 82 percent contained after burning 98,362 acres.
When asked if the devastation of the California wildfires changed his mind about global warming at all, Trump replied, “No.”
Trump’s latest musing about the cause of California’s wildfires come in the wake of a rash of criticism he received over a tweet he fired off last Saturday, where he said the blazes were a result of poor “forest management.”
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump tweeted November 10. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
The tweet prompted major backlash, which included the leaders of two influential California firefighter groups.
“The fires in So. Cal are urban interface fires and have NOTHING to do with forest management,” Pasadena Firefighters Association president Scott Austin tweeted. “Come to SoCal and learn the facts & help the victims.”
Also speaking out was California Firefighters Union president Brian Rice, who told NBC News that firefighters “and the communities in this state deserve an apology” from Trump.
In a subsequent interview with local news outlet KCRA3, Rice was a little more unfiltered in his words.
“You’re an idiot,” Rice said, referring to Trump. “And you should have never said that, and you should take the time before you speak. Words are very powerful.”
Featured image via screen grab