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Remarks by President Trump After Air Force One Arrival

Date: Sept. 14, 2020
Location: McClellan, CA

THE PRESIDENT: I hear a lot of people over there, I just don't see them. They're behind the hangar.

So thank you for being here. We have meetings with FEMA, and we have meetings with a lot of people, having to do with California, Washington State, and Oregon. And I think they'll go very well. They're doing an incredible job. This is one of the biggest burns we've ever seen, and we have to do a lot about forest management. Obviously, forest management in California is very important. And now it extends to Washington and extends also to Oregon. There has to be good, strong forest management, which I've been talking about for three years with this state. So hopefully they'll start doing that.

In the meantime, we're helping them up -- out in a very big way. We have the best people in the world doing this. We have all of our people from FEMA. We have law enforcement here. We have the Army Corps of Engineers. We have, basically, some other military and military operatives that do this.

And I'm going to meet with the governor right now, Gavin Newsom. We've worked very well together. I've approved the emergency declaration, as you know. And I think we'll have a very good meeting.

I think you're going to be able to go in, take a few pictures -- a shot. We may or may not keep you there. As far as I'm concerned, I'd be okay with it, but maybe -- maybe the state would rather not have that, and that's okay with me too. So we're going to go in right now.

Then we're going, as you know, to Arizona. We're meeting with a very great group of people -- Hispanic people who have done really well and they understand exactly what's happening. And we've had tremendous support, as you know and you can see from, probably, everything, including polls. I don't give a lot of significance to polls, even though we've been getting very good polls. We just got a very good one from Rasmussen, as you probably saw. And we certainly got a very good one from within the Republican Party: 95 to 96 percent.

So we're going to do our meeting now with the state officials, including the governor, and then I'll see you in a little while.

And then ultimately -- and we're also giving seven medals to seven great, really, heroes -- really, truly heroes. And I look forward to doing that. We'll be doing that. We're going to have a little bit of a press conference inside. Okay?

Q What would you like to see, specifically, done on the issue of forest management? And is it possible that it's also forest management and climate change -- it's both of things at the same time?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think something is possible. I think a lot of things are possible.

But with regard to the forest: When trees fall down, after a short period of time -- about 18 months -- they become very dry. They become, really, like a matchstick. And they get up -- you know, there's no more water pouring through, and they become very, very -- well, they just explode. They can explode.

Also, leaves -- when you have years of leaves -- dried leaves -- on the ground, it just sets it up. It's really a fuel for a fire. So they have to do something about it.

They also have to do cuts. I mean, people don't like to do cuts, but they have to do cuts in between. So if you do have a fire and it gets away, you'll have a 50-yard cut in between so it won't be able to catch to the other side. They don't do that.

If you go to other countries -- you go to Austria, you go to Finland, you go to many different countries, and they don't have -- I was talking to a head of a major country, and he said, "We're a forest nation. We consider ourself a forest nation." This was in Europe. I said, "That's a beautiful term." He said, "We have trees that are far more explosive…" -- he meant "explosive" in terms of fire -- "…but we have trees that are more explosive they have in California, and we don't have any problem because we manage our forests." So we have to do that in California, too.

So I'll go do this, and we'll see you in a little while. Thank you. Thank you.

(The President walks nearby to speak with supporters and local press.)

THE PRESIDENT: (Inaudible.) I love California. I love all of our first responders and FEMA. And we're here to see your governor, to see a lot of your state representatives, but we're also here to see FEMA and thank them for the great job they're doing. We have an army of people here, and it's very dangerous work.

We're going to give away seven medals. I guess some of you will be in there to see the ceremony.

I want to thank you for being here. It's a great honor to be here.

We're going to Arizona after this, but we're also paying our respects to Oregon and the State of Washington. We're helping them very strongly. We're going to be discussing that inside with FEMA. And they also have a very explosive situation. So we'll be talking about Oregon, the State of Washington, California. This is one of the biggest they've ever had.

So we talk about forest management. And I've been talking about it for a long time -- that they have to do that. You go to other countries, and they don't have this problem, and they have more explosive trees -- meaning they catch fire much easier. So we have to talk about that, in addition to other things.

But we've been working very well with Gavin. We've been working very well with the state. We approved emergency declarations. And hopefully, it'll be under control fairly soon.

We want to pay our respects to the families and loved ones. We had a number of people die, unfortunately. They got caught. They got caught. And when you get caught in these things, it's really be bad. It's really bad. So we want to pay our respects. God bless all. We want to pay our respects to the families where they've lost -- they've lost some wonderful people, from what I understand.

Q Mr. President, what role do you think climate change plays in the fires we're seeing here?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think this is more of a management situation. You know, 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. They're -- they're forest nations. They're in forests. And they don't have problems like this. And they have very explosive trees, but they don't have problems like this.

So I view that as -- number one, that's something we can do something about quickly.

When you get into climate change -- well, is India going to change its ways? And is China going to change its ways? And Russia -- is Russia going to change its ways? You know, so you have a lot of countries that are going to have to change because they make up -- we're just a small speck. They make up a big preponderance of the pollution. And so you have to get them to do it, and nobody ever talks about that.

(Cross-chatter.)

You like that, right? Look at him. He likes -- I like you.

SUPPORTER: I love you, sir!

Q (Inaudible) is run by -- owned by the federal government. What is the plan to do something about that?

THE PRESIDENT: Say it?

Q The plan. The plan -- with the government.

Q What is the plan?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we would help them with respect to forest management. And we'll, you know, work along with them, and we already are. We've done large sections of land owned by the federal government.

And, you know, forest management is not only the leaves that have been sitting there for many years that are dry as a bone, but there are also the trees that go over. Anytime -- anything over 18 months, that's just like a matchstick. It's absolutely like a matchstick. And the standing trees, as you know, they're taking in water. They're wet, and they're much harder to catch.

So, they have to do forest management. They also have to do cuts -- 50-yard cuts -- so that if you have a section that goes, it's not going to take the whole, you know, 100,000 acres. So, you do cuts, and you can do them in ways that look, actually, very good. But you have to be able to do them.

So, you know, we'll be talking about that. It's very important. The management is very important. That's why you always have them here. When you think of it, you see it in Europe, it doesn't happen to -- they manage -- well, it doesn't happen much. I'll have to be exact with you people. You understand that.

But it doesn't happen much because they manage their forests, and they manage it brilliantly, and they've been doing that for many years. Other places, it doesn't happen where they manage their forests, and it should happen here. And they've done something -- and I will tell you, federal government is now starting to do it in a very big way, but the state has to really do that -- that includes the State of Washington, that includes Oregon.

Q The governor says that -- the governor says that forest management --

THE PRESIDENT: Say it? What?

Q -- is a big issue. But he says --

THE PRESIDENT: Say it?

Q He says forest management is a big issue -- Governor Newsom. But he says, fundamentally, this is a climate crisis.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's up to him. Look, he does agree with me on forest management. You have to understand, when I first started talking about it, three years ago, nobody agreed with me. Now everybody agrees that forest management is a very important subject, and you can do it beautifully.

But if you did manage your forest, and if you removed all of that really dry and just -- it's like -- "explosive" is the only word. You drop a cigarette on it, you come back a half hour later, and you have a forest fire. If you don't have that sitting there, nothing is going to burn. Because the last thing to go are the bases of the trees because they're soaking wet from the tree soaking up the water. So they have to be able to do that. If they do that, they're going to have a much different situation.

But every year, it's the same thing, and this one is a very big one. This is a number of big ones. You put them together, and it's -- it's a big monster.

Q What do you say -- what do you say to (inaudible) -- say something about California (inaudible)? Do you --

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, I said it immediately. And I spoke --

Q Do you care about the blue states (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT: Let me just tell you -- let me just tell you about your nasty question. I got a call from the governor immediately, and I called him immediately. In fact, he returned my call. And on that call, I declared it a national -- an emergency. I gave an emergency declaration. That was immediate.

So don't tell me about not doing, because I gave immediate. That included FEMA coming here immediately, while it was just starting -- FEMA and everything else. So that's a nasty question.

Q What is your relationship with Governor Newsom?

THE PRESIDENT: Say it?

Q What is your relationship with Governor Newsom?

THE PRESIDENT: I think it's very good. We have a good relationship. We're obviously from different sides of the spectrum, but we have a very good relationship. We've worked well. And as I've said, as soon as this started, we spoke right at the beginning, and I gave a -- an emergency declaration. And he will tell you that.

He thanked me. Because a lot of Presidents wait for months and months and months. They wait until after it's all over, and then they consider it, and then oftentimes they don't do it. I did it right at the beginning, and I think he'll admit that.

Q Do you believe that there's a climate change issue here in California at all?

THE PRESIDENT: Say it?

Q Is there a climate change issue in California?

THE PRESIDENT: Uh, you'll have to ask the governor that question; I don't want to step on his toes.

SUPPORTER: Mr. President, no question. Thank you for making America great again, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. I like this guy.

SUPPORTER: I love you, sir!

THE PRESIDENT: I don't know who you are, but I like you.

END


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