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Trump on Forest Fires: Dems 'Don't Want to Talk About Management'

By Alexander Watson | September 21, 2020 | 4:47pm EDT
President Donald Trump gives a speech. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump gives a speech. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump discussed a recent meeting he had with California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom, suggesting that Democrats "don't want to talk about management," in an interview with conservative radio host Mark Levin on Sunday's "Life, Liberty & Levin."

"I met with the governor...and honestly he has been very nice with words and that's good, but I said 'we've got to, you've got to manage this; it's a management thing,'" Trump told Levin. "He said 'no, it's global warming.' But I said 'when the leaves build up and you have a floor of leaves, and the trees fall down and you don't remove them because the environmentalists don't want you to touch the tree, within 18 months that tree gets to be like a matchstick, it gets to be unbelievably flammable.'"

Trump also addressed California's supposed drought.

"They have tremendous amounts of water pouring down from the north," the president said. "And yet...they have no water. And they are going to ration for everybody. And all they have to do is let the water come down. You know what they do with the water? They send it out into the Pacific Ocean. They have this massive valve, up north, and as the water comes pouring down from the snow, all beautiful nice clean water, they send it out because there's a tiny little fish that they are trying to save, that's doing very poorly by the way, I think it's a smelt."

The smelt referenced by Trump is the delta smelt. The delta smelt has been at the heart of a long battle over the water rights of California farmers to access water from melting snow in the mountains. In essence, most of the water problems that Californians have been facing for the last decade could be solved if the series of aqueducts and channels developed over the last century were put back into use. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown may even have been able to shower.  

Below is a full transcript of the referenced portion of the interview: 

Levin:  “Mr. President, you look at these cities run by the Democrats, they’re a disaster. Every one of them, they’re a disaster.  You look at this coronavirus, the Democrats now campaigning against a vaccine. Democrat governors forced corona-positive patients in nursing homes, caused a significant death toll. You look at California, as you've talked about, they won't manage their forests and their timber areas. They’ve been told for decades to do it, they won't. Democrats. They blame you for what's going on in Democrat cities. They blame you for what's going on in Democrat states. They attack you for coming up with a vaccine that will soon be out quicker than anybody else. What exactly is it that they would do about the rioting? If they don't support the national guard and federal authorities, if they're not going to do the kind of management of the timber areas that you need to do, if they're not in favor of a vaccine, what exactly does this party stand for?  

Trump:  So let's just talk, I just left, as you know, California; I met with the governor and he and honestly he has been very nice with words and that's good, but I said "we've got to, you've got to manage this; it's a management thing." He said "no, it's global warming." But I said "when the leaves build up and you have a floor of leaves, and the trees fall down and you don't remove them because the environmentalists don't want you to touch the tree, within 18 months that tree gets to be like a matchstick, it gets to be unbelievably flammable." And I meet with foreign leaders of countries and they have an expression, “sir, we are a forest nation.” But they say "we have trees that are far more explosive than the trees in California. We don't understand how a thing like that can happen." You have to manage your forest. They have to do cuts. And they sell those trees for a lot of money, but they have to do cuts in between sections so that if there's a fire over here it doesn’t burn down 500,000 acres because you have a cut. And they water that cut very strongly. And the fire can't go, you know, it's the length of a football field or whatever, or less, I mean frankly, or much less. But you have cuts. 

But they don't do that because the environmentalists don’t want them to do it. When a tree comes down, you have to take that tree out immediately because when it first comes down, it's wet from sucking up the water, but then it gets very dry. Then it gets really dry. Then it starts to rot, and then it catches on fire. But the leaves, you have to do something about it. You can't have leaves that are so dry. Somebody takes a cigarette, they throw it in, that's the end of 400,000 acres. And it costs billions of dollars and we want to help them, but you get really angry about it after a while and they don't want to hear about it, they don't want to talk about management. 

They had an interesting man at the meeting, I guess he was a professor, and he was at the table and he was their person, and he said "sir you happen to be 100% right about management. I do this, I've been doing it for many years." I mean, we could create an area which is almost impossible for it to catch fire. But it's forest management, and it's so sad. You know, in California, they have tremendous amounts of water pouring down from the north. You look at it, and yet they have, they have no water. And they are going to ration for everybody. And all they have to do is let the water come down. You know what they do with the water? They send it out into the Pacific Ocean. They have this massive valve, up north, and as the water comes pouring down from the snow, all beautiful nice clean water, they send it out because there's a tiny little fish that they are trying to save, that's doing very poorly by the way, I think it's a smelt...tiny little fish doing very poorly, doing much worse now without the water. I mean, I don't know, you know, you would think you would be doing better with the water but they have this massive valve and they turn this massive, it takes a whole day to turn it. And all that water comes and it comes pouring, and you know where it goes? Into the Pacific. And Kevin McCarthy says to me, says "you think you could work on the water? We can't get any water for the farms, for this." 

And you drive through these farm areas, where I have been. You have this beautiful little patch of little green. And I would say "why is this beautiful patch and why is everything else like just, barren, horrible?" He said "we don't have any water." "Why? Do you have a drought?" "No." "Well, why don't you have water?" "Because it's sent out into the Pacific." I said "why?"  He said "state and federal regulations." I said "I will solve the federal problem." Department of Commerce, I had it solved within a month. I got rid of every obligation. All we need is one signature from the governor. And this is -- we’re talking about now Los Angeles, it goes all the way down to Los Angeles. Los Angeles, you cant even water your grass. You're not allowed to water your grass. They have a home for $25,000,000 and you cant even water your grass. 

So I said "so why would you do this?" They don't even know why. It is the smelt, but it's probably other reasons. So I'm saying to myself, "I got them all, the hard one is the federal permits, I got it all done. It was all taken care of. The federal permits we have no problem, right?" But I say, "why aren't they doing this" and we just can't get the governor to sign it. You would have so much water in California you'd be able, all those fields that are open -- I mean I've never seen anything -- you're driving down the highway and everything's like really terrible looking and then you have this gorgeous patch of green. That's the only area they have to water; they are allowed like this tiny amount of water. That whole thing could be farmland. But they send the water out into the Pacific Ocean. A long story, but there are many, many stories like that, the stupidity of it all.           

Levin: I listen to you in these different areas -- you're not an ideologue; it's common sense from your own experience and listening.

Alexander Watson is a CNSNews intern and Christendom College graduate.

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