Climate change is real, and it's almost certainly making the West Coast's wildfires worse. But even when faced with that reality in California on Monday, President Trump turned to his old favorite advice of forest management and then seemed to flat-out doubt climate change altogether.
Hundreds of thousands of acres of land are still on fire throughout California, Oregon, and Washington. In California alone, 3.2 million acres have burned so far this year, and 24 people have died in the biggest wildfires the state has ever seen. But just like he did during California's then-record wildfire season two years ago, Trump got off Air Force One in California on Monday and immediately suggested forest management — raking forest floors and performing controlled burns, for example — could solve all of California's problems.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) quickly took Trump to task on that statement during a meeting later Monday. While Newsom acknowledged forest management is an important part of reducing wildfire risk, he reminded Trump that most of California's wildfires are happening on federal land.
California's Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot again pleaded for Trump's understanding on the need to fight climate change, listing how a "warming trend" has sent temperatures soaring to record-breaking levels in both the summer and winter. "It'll start getting cooler. You just watch," Trump responded. "I wish science agreed with you," Crowfoot fired back. "Well, I don't think science knows actually," Trump continued.
Human-caused climate change is one thing science is very, very clear about.