Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) accused President Donald Trump of “willful ignorance” for downplaying concerns over the effects of climate change on California wildfires.
While speaking with CNN’s “New Day,” Merkley likened Trump’s dismissal of climate change to his “wishful ignorance” dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
“The president, I know, visited California and said he just thinks, well, things will just get better on their own. This is willful ignorance,” Merkley stated. “This is putting your hands over your eyes and your ears saying, ‘I see no climate change. I hear no climate change. There is no climate change. Everything will get better. Wishful ignorance has resulted on the pandemic front of within a week, we’ll have 200,000 Americans who have died. And what we’re seeing in the west is just a steady scorching of our forests and now the incineration of our towns.”
“If you never admit that there is a problem, you do nothing to address it,” he added. “I would love for the president to have been with me as I sat with families who were in a complete state of shock. Some of them had barely escaped with their lives. Some of them had family members. They didn’t know where they were. And there was this combination of, my goodness, I’m so thankful I survived, and then a recognition that other family members might not have survived, and perhaps their houses had burned down. In which, in many cases, it had indeed happened. So, it’s just so powerful an impact on people’s lives and on the landscape. A president should be leading the effort to respond, not pretending there isn’t a problem.”
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent