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.
California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
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.”
As a professor who specializes in wildfire management, there are a lot of things that are broken about how we prepare for & fight wildfires... but it’s near impossible to overstate how ridiculous this comment is. https://t.co/YTan7N1BEs
— Eric Kennedy (@ericbkennedy) August 5, 2018
Now you are an environmentalist?
— Morty Rosenfeld (@MortyRosenfeld1) August 6, 2018
I had to come look if this was a real tweet.
Ummmmm....gee..... You seem to know next to nothing about California. Fires are more often fought with flame retardant. Mowing down a forest to keep the forest from burning is on the crazy side.
— bree brinkenstein👻❄ (@eebrinkenstein) August 6, 2018
Must tree clear to stop fire? 😂it's YOUR EPA and you with the "fake" climate control!
— Granny7 🌊💦don't take bullshit (@MsHenryof6kids) August 6, 2018
Diverted to the Pacific Ocean? I think it was headed that way already...
— Talbot M Andrews (@TalbotMAndrews) August 6, 2018
Thank you for your heartfelt words of concern and support for the families who have lost everything.
— Primrose Lane (@ridiculoustimes) August 6, 2018
No you #StableGenius, scientists have been seeing the fingerprints of #climatechange all over these fires and it's making them far worse. Why don't you offer your condolences and then maybe read something aside from the McDonalds menu: https://t.co/agcMh1LnVP
— Miroslava Korenha (@M_Korenha) August 6, 2018
By "tree clear", I'm sure you're talking about logging. You're not interested in fire safety. All you want to do is destroy nature and make corporations richer.
— Audrey (@AudreyK27) August 6, 2018
How about a shout out to the 15,000+ Firefighters who are
putting their lives on the line backed with a commitment of support? That is what a real President would do.https://t.co/XN8Ijged2M #Californiafires#California #Calfires
— ⚑🌹 Big Ass Mustache🍭 (@XX7xluckydem0n) August 6, 2018
JUST IN: The President of the United States blames environmental protection laws for California wildfires, and believes that useful fresh water is being diverted to the Pacific Ocean. It remains unclear if he also believes that the Earth is flat, and the sun revolves around it.
— Trump Thoughts (@TrumpDotDotDot) August 5, 2018
So...you want to stop trees from catching on fire...by removing the trees...?
But I thought you believed so strongly in the environment. You said so!
— Andrew (@AndrewSnarks) August 6, 2018
I fixed your tweet, boo. Don’t worry. I always got your back.
“My hart goes out to all those infected by the kalifornia wildfires. Im working alongside my addministration to formulate a plan of action to swiftly dayliver aids and support to all the suffered comuntitties.”
— Joe Bereta of The Valleyfolk (@joebereta) August 5, 2018
Why the hell are all the rivers flowing into the Pacific Ocean? I blame the Evangelicals
— Rogue (@RogueCIAsurveil) August 6, 2018
So how do you explain the fires in Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Montana?
Those states aren't exactly models of environmental regulation and yet they are burning also.https://t.co/1w7ByodAky
— Eric Foltz (@EricFoltz) August 6, 2018
— We The People (@SteveThomasNow) August 6, 2018
What are you going to do with the “massive amount of water” that doesn’t exist in California? Your destructive environmental policy is what causes climate change. Stop rolling back fuel & auto standards. Fix the EPA, don’t dismantle it. Be the solution, not the problem. (Right!)
— Zardoz commands that Trump should be impeached! (@mr3film) August 6, 2018
California’s wildfires and water shortage are due to climate change that your administration continues to deny and even pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 5, 2018
Sir your account has been hacked. Again.
— lori b. 🗽 (@hoskins_lori) August 6, 2018
— Domino (@sleep4_aweek) August 5, 2018
Well, damn, you finally figured out that California wildfires were happening. And you still can’t even tweet a message of support, just BS about how it’s all their fault.
— Lily Forest (@lilyforest51) August 6, 2018
Californian here. Please. Just stop.
— Hey19🎸 (@Hey19TheCuervo_) August 6, 2018
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.