A California environmental officer urged President Donald Trump to believe in and follow the science of climate change after Trump suggested that warmer weather trends would result in record temperatures year-round this month.
"It's getting cooler. You're just watching," Trump said after Wade Crowfoot, California's secretary for natural resources, urged him and others not to "bury our heads in the sand" and simply ignore the warming climate.
Trump's remark during a roundtable in McLellan Park, California about the wildfires that have devoured vast swathes of the state sparked laughter from some attendees.
But Crowfoot replied, "I wish science would agree with you."
Trump shot back with a grin: "Okay, I don't think science really knows."
US President Donald Trump (C) listens as FEMA employees speak about forest fires during a briefing on September 14, 2020 at Sacramento McClellan Airport in McClellan Park, California.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
The White House declined CNBC's request for further comment on the president's remarks.
Crowfoot tweeted later on Monday, "It's actually not getting any cooler, Mr. President. #ClimateChangeIsReal."
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, speaking on Monday in Wilmington, Delaware, adopted a very different tone on this issue.
"With each struggle with nature's anger caused by our own inaction against climate change, more Americans see and feel the devastation in big cities, towns, coastlines and farmlands," Biden said, according to his prepared remarks.
"It happens everywhere. It happens now. It affects all of us," said Biden.
The president has largely attributed the forest fires that continue to blaze in parts of California to poor forest management practices.
At the round table, which included California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, he said the leader of a "great country" in Europe had told him, "We have trees that are far more explosive" – explosive in terms of fire – & # 39; … than in California and we have no problem. & # 39; "
Trump has repeatedly called climate change a "joke" in the past.
But in his remarks on Monday, Crowfoot emphasized that boiling temperatures in parts of California are part of a larger trend.
"This summer temperatures have exploded. You may have learned that we broke a world record in Death Valley – 130 degrees (Fahrenheit). But also in the greater LA area above 120 degrees. And we're seeing this warming trend make our summers warmer, though." our winters are warmer too, "said Crowfoot.
"I think one area of mutual agreement and priority is vegetation management, but I think we would like to work with you to really understand the changing climate and what it means to our forest, and to actually work with this science that science does will be the key. "
"If we ignore this science and bury our heads in the sand and think it's all about vegetation management, we won't work together to protect the Californians," said Crowfoot.