Northern California has been ravaged by massive wildfires for a week straight and President Trump has been conspicuously quiet about the tragic natural disasters which have already killed at least 40 people and burned through 217,000 acres.
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Meanwhile, the president has found plenty of time to tweet about kneeling in the NFL, Hillary Clinton, fake news, and Puerto Rican debt. He’s put his priorities on full display and revealed himself to be not only unpresidential but inhumane.
Today, Trump finally spoke at some length about the wildfire crisis, reports Talking Points Memo. Of course, in typical Trumpian fashion, the comments were both largely inane and lacking in empathy. One gets the distinct impression that he brought up the fires not because he wanted to, but because he was rightfully expected to.
“It’s very sad to watch how fast, how rapidly they move and how people are caught in their houses. I mean, it’s an incredible thing. Caught in their houses,” Trump said, marveling at the deaths of dozens of American citizens. His choice of words betrays a pronounced lack of emotional investment. No thinking, caring, person would write the wildfire destruction off as simply “very sad.”
“We mourn the terrible loss of life. We have FEMA and first responders there,” Trump added. “We have our military helping. But we’re a little subject to winds and what happens with nature. But it’s been a very sad thing to watch.”
The bit about “what happens with nature” makes it clear that Trump hasn’t read up on the topic, and has no interest in how and why terrible disasters like this occur. The president has a responsibility to engage with the details about events that affect the country so he can develop a nuanced understanding and implement meaningful change. As usual, Trump is uninterested in learning.
The president also shares a special blame in all of this, since he previously proposed a $300 million cut to the U.S. Forest Service’s firefighting operations. One can’t help but suspect that Trump’s neglect on this topic stems from the fact that California is an overwhelmingly Democratic state. In the 2016 election, 61.6% of Californians voted for Secretary Hillary Clinton. Perhaps Trump’s strange silence on the wildfires is just him exacting his petty revenge.