As California wildfires claimed their seventh victim, Donald Trump finally weighed in on the tragedy with one of his most confounding tweets ever, blaming California for the blazes because it “diverts” water to the Pacific Ocean.
He also blamed the state’s “bad environmental laws” — the most protective in the nation — and trees. He called for a “tree clear to stop fire spreading.”
He failed to express condolences to the families of the victims, thank firefighters, or offer comfort to Californians afraid for their lives, homes and communities.
The tweet came just days after the Trump administration moved to scrap tough vehicle emissions standards — initially established by California. The move would clear the way for vehicles to pump an additional 600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2030. That’s the equivalent of the entire annual emissions of Canada.
It’s unclear what the president meant by water “diverted” into the Pacific. California allocates water among residents, agricultural and industrial use, and for wetlands and wildlife, including water mandated to protect endangered species. But state waters eventually drain into the ocean. As one tweeter responded: “Water running into the Pacific Ocean is called a river.” And firefighters haven’t complained of a lack of water for battling the blazes.
The tweet could be a muddled indication of support for a GOP battle in Washington for a larger water allocation to farmers, many of them Republican voters, in the drought-stricken state’s central valley. But it’s unclear how that would help staunch California fires. The scientific consensus is that fires are becoming more common because of climate change, which Trump once called a Chinese “hoax.”
Twitter users were stunned the president failed to express concern about people suffering in the fires. But most readers were stumped — or derisive. One responded: “Thanks, genius. Problem solved.”