This week, the world got another globally reverberating issue dropped in its lap — a massive fire engulfing the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. The blaze even attracted the repeated attention of President Donald Trump, who addressed the incident before beginning a Monday Minnesota roundtable discussion with business leaders about his tax reform.
In conventionally Trump-ian language, he bemoaned the blaze and asserted its relevance for the people of the United States, including himself.
As he put it:
‘It’s one of the great treasures of the world. Probably, if you think about it… it might be greater than almost any museum in the world. And it’s burning very badly. It looks like it’s burning to the ground… So that puts a damper on what we’re about to say, to be honest, because that is beyond countries, that’s beyond anything. That is a part of our growing up, it’s a part of our culture, it’s a part of our lives.’
He went on to mention that he himself had visited the monument at one point, leading him to believe that there’s “probably… no cathedral in the world like it,” making the situation in Paris a “terrible scene.”
The assertion that the institution is “greater than almost any museum in the world” is certainly out there and provides little in the way of actual support for the incident and those affected, although the extremely old cathedral has certainly been through a lot. It has seen and survived everything from the French Revolution of the 1700s to World War II — until now, at least. A spokesperson for the cathedral told media that the entire wooden interior of the building was likely to be destroyed, although eventually, officials shared they believed they’d saved the “main structure.” There’s already been a high-profile, viral moment of a massive church spire collapsing thanks to the flames’ destruction.
Trump had already responded to the unfolding incident on Twitter, asking why air support that he described as “flying water tankers” wasn’t brought in to support the firefighting efforts. Besides the initial uncertainty of what exactly he’s talking about — which really shouldn’t be an issue with a U.S. president, but that’s old news — air-delivered water could prove too destructive to the environment of the delicate building right in the middle of a city.
The fire has been suggested to have been somehow sparked by renovation efforts that had been underway at the site, which was still hosting many tourists and religious services up until this point. Initial footage of the flames showed them engulfing areas specifically where scaffolding had been placed, and the Paris prosecutor has begun investigating the blaze. Although there were no initial reports of any injuries from the fire, after 2-3 hours a report emerged of a firefighter who had been “seriously injured.”
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke out about the blaze, offering:
‘Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.’
Macron had been set to address the nation Monday night about economic issues, but he instead headed to the scene of the fire alongside other French officials.
Besides Trump, a number of other leaders around the world have spoken out about the Notre Dame blaze, including the German and Italian governments and the leadership of the European Union.
Featured Image via screenshot