Joe Biden pushed back on Donald Trump’s denial of the climate crisis during a visit to California on Monday amid devastating, historic wildfires.
The president renewed his unfounded claim that poor forest management is mostly to blame for the blazes which have left at least 35 people dead and thousands of others homeless.
Mr Trump traveled to Sacramento to be briefed by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom and other state and federal officials.
At one point, state Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot urged the president to “recognise the changing climate and what it means to our forests."
“If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together protecting Californians,” Mr Crowfoot added.
Mr Trump responded: “It will start getting cooler, just you watch.”
The state official pushed back that he wished the science agreed with the president.
The president countered: "I don’t think science knows, actually.”
“Science knows,” Mr Biden tweeted a short time later.
Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential candidate from California, posted: "Over the past few years, CA has experienced some of the largest, most destructive wildfires in history—fueled & intensified by the climate crisis.
"While Trump denies the evidence of this crisis, @JoeBiden will get to work taking the drastic action we need on day 1 to combat it."
The fires are threatening to become another front in Mr Trump’s reelection bid, which is already facing hurdles because of the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and social unrest.
Mr Biden, in his own speech on Monday said the destruction and mounting death toll across California, Oregon and Washington require stronger presidential leadership and labeled Trump a “climate arsonist.”
The former VP was not the only public figure to express their anger at the president’s continued denial of the climate crisis.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wrote on Twitter: “Unbelievably—as the West Coast burns amidst record-breaking temperature—Trump continues to deny the reality of climate change. Despite his delusions we must take on the fossil fuel industry & transform our energy system to sustainable energy. The future of the planet is at stake.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren pointed to the Trump administration’s four years of environmental and climate policy rollbacks including on emissions which are fueling global heating.
“Climate change denier Donald Trump and his team of Big Oil and Coal lobbyists have rolled back 100 environmental rules that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink,” Senator Warren tweeted.
“Go ahead and take a look at your legacy of destruction, Mr. President.”
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