The longer that Donald Trump remains in the Oval Office, the more clear it becomes that he is a totally incompetent egomaniac who has no business being anywhere near the presidency. On Monday, he visited California for an in-person briefing on the wildfire crisis that is currently raging in the area, and during one memorable exchange, he suggested that he knows better than “science” as a whole. This suggestion, of course, is totally ludicrous, but it’s not just inane nonsense. Trump’s obsession with his own whims may perpetually impede any reasonable federal effort to respond to crises like the fires.
The wildfires aren’t some trivial occurrence — as local publication SFGate notes, “fires have killed at least 33 people, burned millions of acres and forced thousands from their homes on the West Coast.” California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, who was at the Monday briefing with Trump, noted that “ignoring science and putting our head in the sand and thinking that it’s all about forest management” simply isn’t going to cut it.
Trump replied that “it will start getting cooler — just you watch.” Crowfoot replied that he wished that “science agreed” with the president, and Trump said in response: “I don’t think science knows.”
Trump on climate change: "It'll start getting cooler. You just watch … I don't think science knows, actually." pic.twitter.com/JdYzdrcjgq
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 14, 2020
He doesn’t think science knows what? Is Trump suggesting that he is privy to some kind of special secret knowledge that the nation’s top environmental scientists have somehow missed? Is he suggesting that his own intuition is somehow a better source for policy guidance than those scientists and their documented observations? Trump is the guy who once proudly proclaimed that he’s “never understood wind.” On another, more recent occasion, he suggested that injecting household disinfectants might be worth exploring as a potential Coronavirus treatment option. He eventually claimed that he was joking, but he did not seem to be at the time.
Suggesting that the wildfire situation is all about forest management is exactly what Trump has done — back in 2018, the national embarrassment of a president suggested that “raking” forests needed to be done to keep fire seasons in check. “Raking” forests is not magically going to stop fires from growing and spreading. It would be great if someone was in the White House who had a basic level of competence.