As wildfires rage, California Gov. Newsom uses DNC spot to attack Trump on climate change

As wildfires raged across much of his state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom used his slot at the Democratic National Convention Thursday to call attention to climate change, and President Trump’s denial of what he has derided as a “hoax.”

“If you are in denial about climate change,” said Newsom, speaking outside an evacuation center in Santa Cruz, “come to California.” Lightning-sparked wildfires, he said, have led to widespread evacuations and power outages, and the temperature in Death Valley just reached 130 degrees.

“The hots are getting hotter,” Newsom said, “the dries are getting drier. Climate change is real.”

California Governor Gavin Newsome speaks during the virtual Democratic National Convention on August 20, 2020. (via Reuters TV)
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California addresses the virtual Democratic National Convention on Aug. 20, 2020. (via Reuters TV)

Northern California has been ravaged by “11,000 dry lightning strikes,” he said, causing an “unprecedented challenge.” More than 60,000 people have been forced to evacuate homes as wildfires have raged across the state. At least two people have died, including a utility worker and a helicopter pilot who was killed in a crash while on a water-dropping mission Wednesday.

“This is an extraordinary moment,” Newsom said. “Mother Nature has joined the conversation on climate change.”

The governor also delivered a stinging critique of the Trump administration over its failure to acknowledge the threat of climate change, and the president’s statement that he would withhold help in fighting the fires.

“Just today,” Newsom said, “the president of the United States threatened the state of California.” Trump has insisted he would “defund our efforts on wildfire suppression because he said we hadn’t raked enough leaves,” he said, adding, “You can’t make that up.”


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