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Trump’s comments on wildfires ‘little bit like’ comments on coronavirus

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he arrives at Sacramento McClellan Airport, in McClellan Park, Calif., Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, for a briefing on wildfires. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Bob Woodward’s new book reports that back in February, President Trump knew exactly how deadly coronavirus could be, but he downplayed the severity.

Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold told Seattle’s Morning News on KIRO Radio that he believes it is part of Woodward’s gift that he always manages to get people to talk to him, often against their own interests.

“I think it’s because he’s a good interviewer,” he said. “He doesn’t say very much. He lets the subject to believe that the interview is going really, really well and doesn’t stop them. So I think Woodward has done this to Trump twice now. And the fact that Trump hasn’t figured it out, I think tells you something about Woodward and about Trump.”

So far, there have been no holes poked in Woodward’s story because, as Fahrenthold pointed out, he has the tapes to back it up.

In terms of Trump’s response to the wildfires, Fahrenthold says it’s actually a bit similar to his comments about the coronavirus.

“What Trump said yesterday was, … ‘I think science is wrong. I think things are just going to get cooler all of a sudden.’ It was a little bit like his comments about the coronavirus: ‘Don’t worry, there’ll be a miracle and this problem will go away,'” he said.

“Obviously, the fires result from a lot of complicated decisions — how do we manage forests? How do we suppress fires? Where do we let people live? Why do we let people sort of expand suburbs into areas that are prone to burning? So it’s more than just believe in climate change and the fires will go away,” Fahrenthold said. “But it seems like climate change is at the root of these fires happening in different places, in different ways, and in different volumes than they have before. So if you don’t understand that and don’t address that, all the raking in the world is not going to make a difference.”

Ross: A climate change compromise President Trump would agree to

The other big issue in Washington, D.C., is that Congress still has not agreed on an extension of the coronavirus release package, even as people across the country are struggling economically.

“If the people in power want this to happen, it will happen,” Fahrenthold said. “And maybe they’ll come up with something that will persuade Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell to agree. We’re so close to the election, though, Congress’ attention — I’m not saying this is the right thing — but it seems like it’s mostly focused on the election, so I don’t see any prospect of something coming together very soon that will give those people the relief they need.”

Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Fahrenthold joins KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross every Tuesday on Seattle’s Morning News. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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