President Trump on Monday, demonstrating his willful ignorance and disdain for science, blamed the fires on exploding trees. When told that he was wrong to assert that the climate will cool off, he retorted, “I don’t think science knows.” It would be hilarious if it were not so tragic and if the consequences of his — and an entire party’s — climate change denial were not so deadly.
In the world of grown-ups, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered a speech on Monday, during which he reminded us that, in the midst of a pandemic, an economic crisis and racial unrest, the fires are only one natural disaster — albeit an especially frightful one — that result from climate change, in addition to record-setting flooding, droughts and hurricanes. “Fires are blazing so bright and smoke reaching so far, NASA satellites can see them a million miles away in space,” Biden said. “The cost of this year’s damage will again be astronomically high.” He took direct aim at Trump and other climate change deniers: “The impacts of climate change don’t pick and choose. That’s because it’s not a partisan phenomenon. It’s science. And our response should be the same. Grounded in science.”
Once again, Biden ridiculed Trump for ignoring experts, this time taking issue with Trump’s threat to withhold federal aid from states and his blame-casting on forest-floor management. “Donald Trump’s climate denial may not have caused the record fires, record floods and record hurricanes,” Biden said. “But if he gets a second term, these hellish events will become more common, more devastating and more deadly.”
He then turned tables on Trump’s attempt to frighten suburban voters. “Donald Trump warns that integration is threatening our suburbs. That’s ridiculous. But you know what’s actually threatening our suburbs? Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the West. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the Midwest. And hurricanes are imperiling suburban life along our coasts.”
It may be more effective for Democrats to focus on the consequences of climate change, something that may resonate even with Republicans who bristle at “climate change" but acknowledge “rising tides.” “If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze?” Biden said, underscoring his argument that the real risk is keeping Trump in office.
Biden has now developed a unifying theme that covers the pandemic, the economy, violence and climate change, namely that “we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.” So long as Trump keeps endangering Americans — holding mass rallies that risk infecting and spreading the virus, ignoring climate science, rolling back air-quality regulations — he helps to make Biden’s case. Indeed, the best ads for Biden are generally those that feature nothing more than the president’s own words. No one makes the case for Trump’s unfitness better than Trump.
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