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Trump Knows Nothing: California Fires Edition

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I think I know what Donald Trump was babbling about on Sunday regarding the California fires.

Before we dig into the tweet, it's important to highlight that the president doesn't consider California to be part of his nation. California didn't cough up a victory for him, partly because (he thinks) California allowed three million undocumented immigrants to vote against him, costing him the state and its 55 electoral votes. Consequently, whenever Biff directs his attention at the state, it's to punish and shame, not to offer aid or to even acknowledge California as part of "real" America.

Usually, presidential candidates tend to be fully partisan when running but, once they're elected, presidents tend to comport themselves as presidents of the entire nation, not just their voter base. Barack Obama would routinely remind us of this dynamic -- that he's not the president of the blue states, he's the president of the United States.

Trump, on the other hand, doesn't give a flying rip about being presidential. In fact, he routinely mocks presidentialness in defiance of all previous chief executives. During his rally in Ohio over the weekend, Trump basked in the notion that his behavior is "driving them crazy," "them" being Americans who voted against Trump. To him, they're the enemy -- California is the enemy.

So it's no wonder that during another harrowing year in which significant portions of the state are on fire, Trump decided to scold California rather than offer his support and presidential sympathy.

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!

As many of you know, I witnessed the Santa Rosa fires of October, 2017 up close. Like, in my back yard. I lived less than a mile outside the evacuation zone and spent an entire week wondering whether the winds would shift, pushing the fires toward my house and all of my stuff. Even if I hadn't experienced the full force of a California fire storm, I'd still know that Trump's tweet is complete gibberish. There aren't any laws prohibiting the use of fresh water to stop the fires, nor is California diverting water into the ocean. Trump is very likely repeating something he overheard on Fox News Channel. And it's likely that the unnamed Fox News screecher skimmed the first few lines of a 2015 article in Forbes featuring an interview with Andy Lipkis, a fellow with the Ashoka Foundation. Lipkis says in the interview that California should be collecting more rain water in catchments, noting that even in dry years like 2013, Los Angeles received nearly four inches of rainfall, amounting to around 12 billion gallons of water. Lipkis says that the water is allowed to run "down our concrete streets" and eventually into the ocean. If Trump, or Fox News Goon X, had continued reading the article, they'd know that LA County authorized the construction of "the country’s first smart water grid." If Trump and his stooges were so concerned about water and the fires, they'd work to pass better laws curtailing the impact of the climate crisis, which is the root cause of the drought and worsening fires in California and elsewhere. But Trump's not interested in that. He'd rather punish Californians, and during a crisis no less. Adding to the ridiculousness of Trump's tweet, the LA Times reported on Monday:

“There have been no issues getting water from them,” Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, told me. Cal Fire, which is managing the wildfire battle, has deployed some 200 water tenders to the fire zone and is dispatching air tankers as flying conditions permit. “The idea that there isn’t enough water is the craziest thing in the world,” says Peter Gleick, president emeritus of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland. “There’s absolutely no shortage.”

Clearly, Trump via Fox News has morphed an observation by one guy in a Forbes article from three years ago into a statewide conspiracy to deliberately divert and then dump fresh water into the ocean. This is absolutely not the case. California isn't endangering its own people by actively disposing of water. According to Lipkis, it's simply not doing enough to capture rain water in a systemic way. And besides, since when did Trump give a flying rip about environmental policies in one of, if not the most progressive pro-environment states in the union? We recently learned that Trump was attempting to nullify California's emission standards, proving he's unconcerned by the impact of the climate shift on California's safety. Frankly, it wouldn't shock me to learn Trump would rather let California burn as punishment for defying him on a variety of issues. Either way, Trump is the president. He should know more. Instead of constantly repeating bullshit he overhears on a propaganda channel, he should consult the vast resources of the executive branch to find out what's really happening. But it's easier for the old bastard to watch television than it is to read policy manuals or to sit through briefings. Shitty Grandpa doesn't have the smarts or the attention span, and neither do his voters. Besides, kooky conspiracy theories designed to make progressive states look stupid will always prevail over actual facts. Hence, gobbledygook like his tweet about water. Biff knows nothing.