The saga of President Donald Trump blabbering on the world stage about topics he seemingly knows little to nothing about continued recently. While in northern California this weekend, where dozens and dozens of people have been confirmed dead from record breaking wildfires and many hundreds more remain missing, he asserted that Finland provides an example of how to avert similar catastrophes via some sort of make believe national raking policy.
A number of prominent Finnish people have responded, pointing out just how ludicrous it is for the president to claim the reason the far north, perpetually cold and rainy Finland has fewer wildfires than the drought and heating ravaged California is because of raking.
Finnish government and security researcher Veli-Pekka Kivimäki quipped:
‘I perhaps wouldn’t compare Finland and California climate-wise… And besides, 80% of the country is classified as forest land. We don’t exactly manicure all of it.’
I perhaps wouldn’t compare Finland and California climate-wise…
And besides, 80% of the country is classified as forest land. We don’t exactly manicure all of it. https://t.co/fthi7FUw0N
— Veli-Pekka Kivimäki (@vpkivimaki) November 17, 2018
Twitter user Aki Heikkinen further pointed out that dividing up the estimated number of trees sprawling throughout Finland’s dense forests among every individual Finn makes the president’s claim look even more ridiculous. There are roughly 4,500 trees for every Finn.
Finland has ~73% forest coverage = 222,180 square kilometers of forests (world bank study). Our forests are densest in the world, averaging 72,000 trees in sq km. That’s 22 billion trees or 4,500 for every Finn (yale university study).
Please send help. Must bring own rakes.
— Aki Heikkinen (@akihheikkinen) November 17, 2018
Trump claimed, despite all of his detractors, that he heard about the success of Finland’s imaginary national raking routine from Finnish President Sauli Niinistö himself, who he spoke with briefly in Paris the weekend before he was in northern California.
The Finnish leader, though, says that he never mentioned “raking leaves” as some sort of overarching grand fire prevention strategy. He simply quipped, he says, that his country takes care of its forests.
Meanwhile, in some of his initial comments, Trump laid out his vision:
‘You have to take care of the floors, the floors of the forest, very important. You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story. I was with the president of Finland and he said we’re a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things and they don’t have any problem. And when they do, it’s a very small problem.’
Trump: “You gotta take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important… I was with the President of Finland… he called it a forest nation and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things and they don’t have any problem.” pic.twitter.com/cC8syQobdC
— Contemptor (@TheContemptor) November 17, 2018
The comments represent more than a simple error on the leader’s part. They figure into a broader pattern of him standing on the world stage and dismissing the seriousness of the California fire situation and laying what blame he does acknowledge at the feet of the victims. He’s previously asserted more broadly, for instance, that state mismanagement of forests has caused the wildfires and threatened to withdraw federal funding over the claimed incompetence.
The fires ravaging California aren’t even unfolding in forests. They’re burning through communities, spurred along by a global warming-dried environment. How exactly does he think that raking a forest is going to help keep structures from burning? Did he even think that through before he said it? Almost an entire major California town (Paradise) has burned to the ground, leaving its inhabitants homeless alongside many others who’ve faced a similar fate — and a continually growing number of confirmed dead, and this nonsense is the best the president of the United States has to offer.
Check out some more of what Twitter had to say below.
I lived in Finland. Lots of forest to rake. I think they smooth out the lakes too.
— John Sipher (@john_sipher) November 17, 2018
Someone please show Donald Trump a globe so he knows how close to the North Pole Finland is in comparison to Southern California. https://t.co/L0FgA0RL7x
— Billy Procida (@TheBillyProcida) November 17, 2018
Southern portions of Finland are snow-covered about 3 to 4 months of the year
Northern portions for about 7 months
And no forest fires!
Clearly Trump thinks southern CA should do the responsible thing and have much more snow?
— Barry Nolan (@OnlyTrueThings) November 18, 2018
“I grew up in Finland.
a) it rains all year round.
b) we have a lengthy and cold winter.
c) Finland is a sparsely populated country with just over 5mil ppl, with land size ~3/4 of CA and most of it forests and lakes.
— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) November 17, 2018
— Pauli Juusela (@PauliJuusela) November 18, 2018
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot