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AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s misdirection on Calif fires, climate

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President Donald Trump visits a neighborhood impacted by the Woolsey Hearth, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Malibu, Calif. (AP Photograph/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump goes too far in assigning a lot of the blame for California’s devastating wildfires on the state’s forest administration.

In feedback over the weekend, he referred to as forest administration a “big problem” and instructed that California officers wanted to do a a lot better job. However most of California’s 33 million acres of forests are beneath federal or personal management, not the state’s. Hearth scientists say that Trump additionally neglects a bigger impact from climate change in selling abnormally dry circumstances and lifeless timber, creating gasoline for hearth.

In every week honoring the sacrifice of America’s warriors, Trump appeared to say that he visited Arlington Nationwide Cemetery on Veterans Day final yr and asserted that veterans, because of him, not face lengthy waits for medical care. Neither is true.

Capping the weekend, the president additionally misspelled the identify of a Democratic lawmaker in an unlucky means and didn’t right himself.

A take a look at his current statements, in contrast with the details:


TRUMP, talking concerning the position of forest administration in stemming wildfires: “I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We have a much different_we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem.” — remarks Saturday in Paradise, California.

THE FACTS: Finland apparently is just not raking that many leaves.

President Sauli Niinisto stated in an interview revealed Sunday within the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper that he advised Trump throughout a quick assembly in Paris on Nov. 11 that “Finland is a country covered by forests but we also have a good surveillance system and network” in case of wildfires.

Niinisto stated he informed Trump “we take care of our forests,” however he couldn’t recall mentioning something on raking.


TRUMP, on the position of climate change: “Maybe it contributes a little bit. The big problem we have is management…You need forest management. It has to be. I’m not saying that in a negative way, a positive — I’m just saying the facts.” — interview with “Fox News Sunday.”

TRUMP: “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. 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!” — tweet on Nov. 10.

THE FACTS: Each nature and people share duty for the state’s devastating wildfires, however hearth scientists say the forest administration is just not the primary contributor.

Nature offers the damaging winds which have whipped the fires, and human-caused climate change over the lengthy haul is killing and drying the shrubs and timber that present the gasoline. That’s to not say California is innocent: City improvement encroaching on wildlands is also an element. However about 19 million or 57 % of California’s 33 million acres of forests are managed or owned by the federal authorities, in response to the College of California.

The wildfire that incinerated the Northern California city of Paradise and surrounding areas is the only deadliest such blaze in California historical past.

The opposite main hearth, in Southern California, has burned via shrubland, not forest.

“It’s not about forest management,” stated College of Utah hearth scientist Philip Dennison. “These aren’t forests.”

The dean of the College of Michigan’s environmental faculty, Jonathan Overpeck, stated Western fires are getting greater and extra extreme. He stated it “is much less due to bad management and is instead the result of our baking of our forests, woodlands and grasslands with ever-worsening climate change.”

Wildfires have turn out to be extra devastating due to the acute climate swings from international warming, hearth scientists stated. The typical variety of U.S. acres burned by wildfires has doubled from 30 years in the past.

California additionally has been in drought for all however a number of years of the 21st century and is now experiencing its longest drought, which started on Dec. 27, 2011, and has lasted 358 weeks, based on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Almost two-thirds of the state is abnormally dry.

The primary 9 months of the yr have been fourth-warmest on document for California, and this previous summer time was the second-hottest on document within the state.

Due to that, there are 129 million lifeless timber, which give gasoline for fires.



TRUMP: “We picked up two seats in the Senate. We went from 51-49 to 53-47.” — remarks Saturday.

THE FACTS: Not so. He’s presuming Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith will defeat Democrat Mike Espy in a runoff election Nov. 27. If Espy wins, Republicans could have picked up just one seat and have a 52-48 edge. It’ll be 53-47 if she wins.



TRUMP: “So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!” — tweet Sunday.

THE FACTS: The right identify of the Democratic lawmaker is Adam Schiff.

Mueller’s appointment to steer the investigation into 2016 election interference and potential ties between Moscow and Trump’s marketing campaign was not put to the Senate as a result of particular counsels are appointed by the Justice Division. His appointment just isn’t in authorized dispute.

Critics contend Trump illegally sidestepped process by appointing Whitaker over Deputy Lawyer Basic Rod Rosenstein, who’s been confirmed by the Senate.


TRUMP, on particular counsel Robert Mueller and his workforce conducting the Russia investigation: “These are Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years.” —tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Mueller, a longtime Republican, was chosen to steer the FBI by Republican President George W. Bush in 2001. Democratic President Barack Obama stored him within the job, and Mueller left in September 2013 after six years underneath Obama.



TRUMP, on his determination to not go to Arlington Nationwide Cemetery final week to commemorate Veterans Day: “In retrospect, I should have, and I did last year and I will virtually every year. But we had come in very late at night and I had just left, literally, the American Cemetery in Paris, and I really probably assumed that was fine and I was extremely busy because of affairs of state — doing other things.” — interview with “Fox News Sunday.”

THE FACTS: Whereas Trump has visited Arlington Nationwide Cemetery twice throughout his presidency on Memorial Day, he didn’t achieve this final yr on Veterans Day. He was in Asia on the time.


TRUMP: “In June, I proudly signed into law the most significant VA reform in half a century, called Veterans Choice. … Now if a veteran cannot get the treatment they need from the VA in a timely manner, they can see a private doctor. They don’t have to wait 12 days or 20 days. … There is no more waiting on lines.” — remarks at veterans’ occasion Thursday.

THE FACTS: He continues to unfold a deceptive declare about veterans now receiving speedy medical care due to his enhancements. Actually, the care offered beneath the Veterans Selection program shouldn’t be as instantaneous as Trump suggests nor will it essentially be the most important overhaul on the Division of Veterans Affairs in many years.

Trump signed laws in June to increase the private-sector Selection program, which was first permitted in 2014 in the course of the Obama administration after a scandal on the Phoenix VA medical middle through which some veterans died whereas ready months for appointments. The present Selection program permits veterans to see docs outdoors the VA system if they need to wait greater than 30 days for an appointment — not “12 days or 20 days.” However many are ready for much longer than this system prescribes.

How a lot Selection will probably be expanded beneath his regulation will rely on yet-to-be-completed laws that may decide eligibility for veterans in addition to out there cash for this system. The VA has but to resolve long-term financing as a result of congressional finances caps that would put cash for VA or different home packages liable to shortfalls subsequent yr.

This system’s success may even rely on an overhaul of the VA’s digital medical data to permit seamless sharing of medical data with personal physicians, anticipated to take as much as 10 years.

In the meantime, the present Selection program isn’t all the time well timed. A report launched this yr by the Authorities Accountability Workplace discovered that regardless of the Selection program’s assure of offering an appointment inside 30 days, veterans waited a mean of 51 days to 64 days.


TRUMP: “Veteran unemployment has reached its lowest level in nearly 21 years, and it’s going to be better.” — remarks Thursday.

THE FACTS: The veterans’ unemployment price fell to 2.9 % in October, the newest knowledge out there, however that’s nonetheless larger than the two.7 % price reached in October 2017, additionally beneath Trump. That was the bottom joblessness fee for veterans in almost 17 years.

Veterans’ unemployment has fallen principally for a similar causes that joblessness has dropped usually: robust hiring and regular financial progress for the previous eight years.

In Might 2000, veterans’ unemployment dropped to a low of two.three %, and he hasn’t reached that.

In any occasion, it’s unattainable for Trump to say an achievement not seen in 21 years on veterans’ unemployment. The info on joblessness for vets solely return 18 years, to 2000.



TRUMP: “Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!” — tweet Tuesday.

TRUMP: “President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!” — tweet on Nov. 9.

THE FACTS: Macron by no means recommended assembling a European military to face towards the USA, its steadfast army ally. As an alternative, he joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel in proposing a continental military that may give Europe extra duty for its personal safety, supplementing NATO. Trump has repeatedly pushed NATO members to spend extra on their very own army capabilities to alleviate strain on the U.S. to guard Europe. A European military can be aimed toward doing that, although in concept outdoors the NATO umbrella.

Macron stated in a radio interview earlier than Trump’s arrival in France that Europe ought to have the ability to defend itself greater than it now can, with out solely relying on the USA.

At one other level within the interview, Macron mentioned hacking and different cyberthreats and asserted that on that entrance, France should shield itself from China, Russia and even the USA. His concern about U.S. hackers had nothing to do with army threats or forces.

Trump misrepresented Macron’s place on the matter earlier than they met and once more after they mentioned it.



SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, on a decide’s order that CNN reporter Jim Acosta be allowed again into the White Home: “Today, the court made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House.” — assertion Friday.

THE FACTS: The courtroom made no such willpower. U.S. District Courtroom Decide Timothy Kelly issued a ruling of a “limited nature” that restored Acosta’s credentials briefly whereas a CNN lawsuit towards the Trump administration proceeds. Kelly primarily discovered help for CNN’s declare underneath the Fifth Modification that Acosta hadn’t acquired adequate discover or rationalization earlier than his credentials have been pulled. In consequence, the decide didn’t get to the First Modification points within the case.



TRUMP: “On Trade, France makes excellent wine, but so does the U.S. The problem is that France makes it very hard for the U.S. to sell its wines into France, and charges big Tariffs, whereas the U.S. makes it easy for French wines, and charges very small Tariffs. Not fair, must change!” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Sure, U.S. wine is desired in France.

Trump, who’s been within the wine enterprise, is incorrect about France making use of tariffs. The European Union does.

He’s proper a few disparity in wine duties.

Tariffs range by alcohol content material and different elements. A bottle of white American wine with 13 % alcohol content material imported into the EU carries a customs obligation of 10 euro cents (simply over 11 U.S. cents). A bottle of white wine from the EU exported to america has a customs obligation of 5 U.S. cents.

The hole in duties is narrower for purple wine with an alcohol content material of 14.5 %.

Bulk wines are one other story. The U.S. tariff is double the EU one, a break for American producers as a result of bulk wine represents 25 % of the quantity of U.S. wine coming into the EU, in line with the French wine exporter federation.

The worth of wine imported by France has jumped 200 % over a decade. Meantime People are the highest shoppers of French wine exports.



TRUMP: “The disgrace is that, voter ID. If you buy, you know, a box of cereal, if you do anything, you have a voter ID …The only thing you don’t is if you’re a voter of the United States.” — interview Wednesday with The Every day Caller.

THE FACTS: He’s which means to say that consumers use a photograph ID to make purchases, so it shouldn’t be a burden to point out a photograph ID for voting. However as consumers know, no photograph is required to buy a field of cereal or different gadgets at a grocery retailer when utilizing money or to make routine purchases with credit score or debit playing cards.

Identifications are required to buy restricted gadgets corresponding to alcohol, cigarettes or chilly drugs and in quickly declining conditions through which a buyer opts to pay with a private examine.

In line with the Nationwide Grocers Affiliation’s most up-to-date knowledge, using checks as a proportion of complete transactions dropped from 33 % in 2000 to six % in 2015, due partially to the recognition of debit playing cards, which use PIN codes. The group’s members are unbiased meals retailers, family-owned or privately held, each giant and small.


Related Press writers Jessica Gresko, Darlene Superville, Christopher Rugaber and Seth Borenstein contributed to this report.


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