The fires raging in California, Oregon, and Washington are “hellish,” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Monday, and there will be more like them if President Trump is re-elected in November.
At least 35 people have died in the fires, which scientists and local leaders say are being exacerbated by climate change. Trump is a “climate arsonist” and “climate denier,” Biden said, and has “no interest in meeting this moment” and doing something to slow down global warming. “We need a president who respects science,” Biden declared. “Who understands that the damage from climate change is already here. Unless we take urgent action, it’ll soon be more catastrophic.”
Suburban voters are being courted by both Biden and Trump, and the president has claimed that if Biden wins, there will be chaos in neighborhoods across the country. Biden said that the real threat to the suburbs are wildfires, floods, and hurricanes. “If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires?” he asked. “How many suburban neighborhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in super storms?”
As Biden spoke, Trump was in California, meeting with state officials. He attempted to pin the blame for the fires not on extreme weather caused by climate change, but rather forest mismanagement; more than three million acres have burned in California this year, with most shrublands, grasslands, and oak woodlands, not forest lands, the Los Angeles Times notes. A majority of the forests in the state are owned by the federal government and managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
Wade Crowfoot, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) secretary for natural resources, told Trump that climate change is real, and “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.” Trump responded, “Okay. It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch.” Crowfoot told Trump he wished “science agreed with you,” and the president retorted, “I don’t think science knows, actually.” Catherine Garcia