President Donald Trump says he’s going to visit Northern California on Saturday “Just to see the firefighters.”
“Nobody’s ever seen what’s going on over there, and now they’re saying it could be as many as 600, this just came out before we met, could be as many as 600 people killed – up by 400,” Trump told Fox News’s Chris Wallace in an interview conducted Friday afternoon.
“And burned beyond recognition, they can’t even see the bodies, it’s incredible,” Trump added. (The 600+ figure is actually the number of missing people, according to The Butte County Sheriff’s Office).
After getting torched for blaming “forest management” and threatening to pull “federal funding” as wildfires ravaged Northern and Southern California, and backing off that line of tweeting to assume a more Consoler-in-Chief role, Trump returned to his original thought bubble in his sit-down with Wallace, which will air 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,” he complained. “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.”
When Wallace asked him about the “argument that it’s climate change, that it’s drier, it’s hotter and that that’s contributing to it?” Trump wasn’t going there:
“Maybe it contributes a little bit,” he said. “The big problem we have is management. When I was in a certain state, I won’t say which, the governor said, ‘You know, we’ve tested it. We clean out areas and we actually set the fire just to see, we lose almost nothing, we can put it out right away.’
“‘And then we leave areas un-maintained,’ he said, ‘We’ll lose 100,000 acres before you even know it.'”
“You need forest management. It has to be,” Trump argued. “I’m not saying that in a negative way, a positive — I’m just saying the facts. And I’ve really learned a lot.”
The interview will air on Fox News Sunday, and will be shown on Fox Broadcasting, as well as Fox News Channel.