Tuesday, 6 Dec 2022

Opinion | Trump’s Response to the California Fires

To the Editor:

Re “Trump Surveys the Ashes: ‘This Was a Really, Really Bad One’” (news article, Nov. 18):

The merits and wisdom of President Trump’s policies and agenda can be debated with widely divergent perceptions among fair-minded observers. But nowhere are his shortcomings more glaring than in his symbolic, but very real, role, as our national consoler in chief — the person the public looks to in times of tragedy, whether natural or man-made, for healing.

Consider the president’s performance after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, or the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh or just this past weekend at the site of the horrific wildfires in California. Mr. Trump is simply unable to express compassion and empathy. Why? Probably because his self-absorption is so grand, so total, there is seemingly no room in his heart for the pain and suffering of others.

As he doesn’t feel it, it’s almost impossible to be able to authentically express it to a grieving nation or a grieving family. As a symbol of hope, compassion and healing, Donald Trump is an abject failure.

Ken Derow
Swarthmore, Pa.

To the Editor:

President Trump’s assertion that “there is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor” is a pathetic example of the man’s inability to see beyond his own imagined, self-serving version of truth.

It is not as if his exit from the Paris climate agreement or his relaxation of coal pollution standards actually caused these fires. Global warming is a man-made process that has been happening for decades and is responsible for devastating storms, fires and many other frightening changes.

But Mr. Trump’s leadership means that the United States is sabotaging global efforts to confront climate change at the exact moment in history when humankind can still deflect the worst consequences of this impending disaster.

Dale L. Goodhue
Athens, Ga.

To the Editor:

President Trump blames poor forest management for the current forest fires in California. Since most of the forest fires are occurring on federally held land, the responsibility for their management lies with the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service. So the buck stops with the Trump administration.

How come he is not looking into the problem at the federal level and demanding answers from these federal agencies? Or having these agencies work with state agencies in the region to come up with solutions? It seems he would rather use the tragedy for political gain and blame the state of California and its Democratic governor, Jerry Brown.

George Magakis Jr.
Norristown, Pa.

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