President Donald Trump and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California held a joint press briefing Monday to address the state's wildfires.
Before the briefing, Newsom gave Trump a packet of information on the wildfires that included huge fonts, colorful graphics, and pictures of the fires.
The packet showed, in part, how the most destructive wildfires in the state's history had come at a time of increasing average temperatures.
Trump has so far refused to acknowledge that the wildfires were exacerbated by climate change.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California gave President Donald Trump a packet of extremely simplistic facts and graphs about the wildfires ravaging his state before the two met for a live press conference on Monday.
The Fox LA reporter Elex Michaelson obtained a copy of the briefing packet and posted pictures of it to Twitter.
Using full-page pictures of the wildfires, colorful graphs, and huge font, the packet explains how the most destructive wildfires in the state's history have coincided with rising average temperatures in recent years — backing up Newsom's assertion that climate change is behind the wildfires' destruction.
—Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) September 14, 2020
Trump has long denied that climate change is real or in any way to blame for the West Coast's record wildfire season. He has instead blamed the wildfire on a lack of forest upkeep, including raking forest floors.
Newsom seemed to anticipate that Trump would bring up this theory and included a pie chart in the packet showing that the federal government owned the majority — 57% — of the forests in California, while the state owns just 3% (the remaining 40% is privately owned).
Trump has long been reported to favor visuals over words in his briefings. Citing 10 current and former US officials, The New York Times reported in May that Trump did not read written intelligence reports but did look at visuals such as graphs, charts, tables, and satellite images.
Though Newsom's packet makes a case for climate change contributing to the wildfires — and Newsom has previously said he has "no patience for climate-change deniers" — the governor was much less combative on the topic with Trump in person.
During the press conference, Newsom said his viewpoint was backed by science but told Trump they "can agree to disagree" on the issue, according to the Associated Press.
Newsom's natural-resources secretary, Wade Crowfoot, however, was more pointed when it was his turn to speak.
He asked the president not to "put our head in the sand and think it's all about vegetation management," referring to the president's forest-raking theory for the wildfires.
"It'll start getting cooler — you just watch," Trump said.
"I wish science agreed with you," Crowfoot replied.
"I don't think science knows, actually," Trump said, then ending the conversation.
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