Climate denier Donald Trump makes no bones about the fact that he doesn’t believe humans are contributing to climate change, calling it a ‘hoax’ proctored by the Chinese. Now he’s adding another scientific fact to the list of things he doesn’t believe in: the severe drought that has plagued California for the past five years. In a speech in Fresno on Friday, Trump claimed that a group of “50 or 60 farmers” told him, right before he took the stage, that “there is no drought.” And the Republican presidential candidate says he believes it.
In the clip above, Trump recounts his conversation with farmers, saying that he asked them how bad the drought was. They told him, he says, “There is no drought, they turn the water out into the ocean.” Trump said that, after 30 minutes of discussion, he believes what the farmers told him. To be clear, Trump never actually says there is no drought, but by quoting others who have allegedly said it and saying he agrees, we can all agree that’s pretty much the same thing.
Anyone who has been paying attention knows that he’s wrong about this. California is suffering a very real and very devastating drought. There simply isn’t “plenty of water,” as Trump quotes farmers allegedly telling him. Some 95 percent of the state is enduring drier than average conditions, and 20 percent of the state is experiencing drought conditions deemed “exceptional” by the Western Regional Climate Center, which has been closely monitoring the drought for years.
Even Fresno, the city in which Trump came out of the closet as a drought denier last week, is experiencing drought conditions that rank in the “extreme” to “exceptional” range. Across the state, hundreds of thousands of acres of farmlands have turned fallow, millions of trees have lost canopy water, and rampant wildfires have raged, fueled by drier than normal brush. Not even the wet El Niño season could provide much relief, although it has helped contribute to the snowpack in the northern part of the state.
It continues to be difficult to tell whether Trump is on a mission to spread misinformation and foster distrust in science, or if the man is just very, very confused. Either way, we wonder what will he will deny next. Is gravity also a hoax, Donald?