Sep 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Inslee calls on Americans to vote out those who "downplay" climate change

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the primary way Americans can combat misinformation about the wildfires ravaging the West Coast is to vote out "any politician like Donald Trump who has downplayed climate change."

Why it matters: Trump is a climate skeptic who has weakened environmental regulations and began the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. At a rally in Nevada on Saturday night, Trump insisted that the fires were "about forest management."

  • Scientists say that the hot and dry conditions created by climate change have exacerbated the intensity of wildfires.
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who appeared alongside Inslee, said Trump's claim that the fires could be prevented by raking forests was a "big and devastating lie."

What they're saying: "The only moisture in eastern Washington was the tears of people who have lost their homes and mingling with the ashes. And now we have a blowtorch over our states in the west which is climate change, and we know that climate change is making fires start easier, spread faster and intensify," Inslee said.

  • "Vote. Vote on climate. Get out there and vote against any politician like Donald Trump who has downplayed climate change, just like he's downplayed COVID," Inslee added.
  • "And for Donald Trump to say he's a hero of climate change is like saying he's a hero of masks against COVID. This idea that somehow we could have solved this problem by timber thinning is just a bunch of malarkey."

The big picture: Trump will visit California on Monday after being conspicuously silent about the fires. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the fires, with dozens of people missing. The Oregon emergency management director said the state was preparing for a "mass casualty event."

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