At the height of the massive wildfire in California that killed over 70 people and destroyed countless lives, President Donald Trump shocked the nation by blaming…California. The president said that a lack of adequate forest management created dry conditions that exacerbated what has now become the largest wildfire in California’s history. The vast majority of California’s public forests are managed by the federal government and these fires spread in populated urban areas as well.
Nevertheless, in a harrowing display of consistency, the Trump administration is doubling down on the erroneous claim—with a new scapegoat to boot.
Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, echoed Trump’s sentiments that poor forest management is to blame for the wildfires.
And who’s to blame for the so-called poor management?
If you ask Ryan Zinke, it’s the environmentalist movement, with Zinke saying on a radio show for the far-Right Breitbart:
“I will lay this on the foot of those environmental radicals that have prevented us from managing the forests for years and, you know what, this is on them…The president is absolutely right. This is as much about mismanagement over time.”
The claim is that environmentalists fought for forests to grow uninterrupted and unmonitored, which created prime conditions for the fire. It should be noted that Zinke himself used $39,000 of wildfire funds for a helicopter tour that flew over Nevada and was completely unrelated to forest fires.
Twitter thought his misplaced blame on “environmental radicals” was ludicrous.
Hey Zink, here’s one you didn’t think of! Those environmentalists diverting all those California rivers into the sea are what is making the sea levels rise! #FakeClimateChange
— Charley (@Charley21718460) November 19, 2018
If climate change is to blame, why aren't well manicured parks burning to the ground by the day?
— John Johnson (@johnson_johnnie) November 19, 2018
Doubling-down on willful ignorance. #MAGA
— Tommy Tweets (@tstweetingagain) November 19, 2018
The ignorance and lack of any pertinent knowledge is staggering in the whole administration does any one know who is actually running the country because it is not apparent that anyone knows anything but tiwingvthe orange line
— Files5 (@DaveFiles5) November 19, 2018
“Environmental radicals” excuses and interesting names. Who exactly are these radicals? Are they lighting these fires. Are they also causing the mud slides and the drought? Just can’t trust these radicals. We should give them rakes and let them clean up the forest.
— Meg Sullivan (@hopperlassie) November 19, 2018
As some pointed out, denying that steps must be taken to minimize the damage wrought by climate change is the more radical position.
Zinke is the "environmental radical"
— Gneiss2MeatYew (@Gneiss2MeatYew) November 19, 2018
Zinke’s comments, to many, indicate what’s been a running theme of the Trump administration as a whole: He’s ethically questionable and woefully unqualified.