SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — President Donald Trump stopped at McClellan Park on Monday to get an update on California’s wildfires from state leaders, including Governor Gavin Newsom.
Stepping off Air Force One, Trump reiterated his concerns with the state’s forest management and sidestepped the issue of climate change.
“I think this is more of a management situation, you know,” Trump said. “If you look at other countries, you go to other countries in Europe, Austria and Finland and numerous countries, and I talk to the heads. Their forest nations, they’re in forests and they don’t have problems like this.”
In a round-table discussion inside Cal Fire’s hangar, Governor Newsom thanked the president for the approval of 14 firefighting grants and the federal emergency declaration as fires scorch millions of acres across the state.
Newsom acknowledged more work needs to be done with managing California wildlands, 57% of which are owned by the federal government.
But, in a respectful exchange, the governor maintained to the president that the fires are a result of a climate crisis.
“Please, respect, and I know you do, the difference of opinion out here as it relates to the fundamental issue on the issue of climate change,” Newsom told the president.
“Absolutely,” Trump responded.
Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, told Trump that “if we ignore that science and sort of put our heads in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together in protecting California.”
“It’ll start getting cooler,” the president said. “You just watch.”
Crowfoot said, “I wish science agreed with you.”
Trump got in the last word of the exchange: “Well, I don’t think science knows actually.”
Trump committed to strengthening the state and federal partnership to double down on vegetation management, but without mention of climate change.
“We’re working on that very hard together and I think we’re totally in sync,” he said. “I really think we’re totally in sync.”
Following the briefing, Trump delivered remarks at a California National Guard event.
Supporters and protesters gathered outside McClellan Park ahead of the president’s visit. Cars drove through a crowd of protesters in at least two instances. The group was gathered at Watt Avenue near McClellan park. At least one woman was taken away in an ambulance.
One protester was injured when he fell from atop a California Highway Patrol vehicle as it sped away. The officer did not stop. The protester was taken from the area in an ambulance but the extent of his injuries was not immediately known.