Rep.-Elect Rouda: Trump Should Lead on Climate Change Instead of Throwing 'Tweet Tantrums'

November 12, 2018

By Chloe Aiello and Justin Chermol

Not many Californians are pleased with President Trump's weekend Twitter response to the wildfires that are devastating parts of California ー especially not Congressman-elect Harley Rouda.

Fresh off a victory in California's 48th Congressional District, the newly-elected House Democrat had some choice words for the president on Monday.

"This is the time to step up and show you have one ounce of empathy in your entire being. And instead, he uses this an opportunity to insult Californians, insult firefighters, insult those families that have lost lives, property ー incredible devastation. These tweet tantrums that show him acting as a temperamental, small child has to stop," Rouda told Cheddar on Monday.

Rouda was referencing a tweet Trump blasted out on Saturday, blaming the destruction on poor forest management. The White House did not immediately respond to Cheddar's request for comment on Rouda's criticism.

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!"

Two new blazes broke out in Ventura County, Calif., on Monday. Firefighting resources are already stretched thin, as they work to combat three fires already scorching the state. In Northern California, the Camp Fire has killed at least 31, making it the deadliest in the state's history. Further south, the Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire have forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands, some from the state's wealthiest zip codes.

Trump blamed forest management for the raging fires, failing to mention climate change as a contributing factor. Climate scientists agree climate change aggravates the drought that contributes to wildfires.

"Unfortunately our President denies basic science ... It would be better to see our country take a leadership role in addressing climate change and creating the new industries and new jobs that will have to be created to address this issue for the sake of humanity," Rouda said.

"And that's why I'm excited with our new Congress ... if the President won't do it in concert with Congress, then Congress will march ahead without him," he added.

Rouda just unseated Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a 30-year GOP incumbent with ties to Russia. The Associated Press called the race for Rouda Saturday afternoon, but Rohrabacher has yet to concede.

For full interview click here.