Joe Biden on Monday tore into what he called President Donald Trump’s lack of "leadership" in combating climate change, bashing him as a "climate arsonist" and vowing “action” on the matter as wildfires continued to ravage the West Coast.
In a speech from Wilmington, Delaware, the Democratic presidential nominee repeatedly hit Trump for denying climate change and painted a contrast in how he’d do better if elected.
“It requires action, not denial. It requires leadership, not scapegoating,” Biden said. “It requires a president to meet the threshold duty of the office — to care for everyone. To defend us from every attack — seen and unseen.”
Later, Biden blasted the White House for playing politics with climate science.
“Hurricanes don’t swerve to avoid red states or blue states,” he said. “It’s not a partisan phenomenon, it’s science.”
“And our response should be the same, grounded in science,” he added.
Biden’s comments came as the wildfires raging across California, Oregon and Washington killed at least 33 people, with dozens of others missing and tens of thousands more forced to flee their homes.
Trump traveled to California on Monday to speak to local officials about the wildfires — where the president's opinions on climate change diverged from those held by the authorities with whom he was meeting.
After the role of climate change was raised several times during a meeting with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, Trump interjected, “It will start getting cooler.”
“Just watch. I don’t think science knows, actually,” Trump said.
Newsom had emphasized his long relationship with Trump and gave a warning to the president about the effects of the climate changes that his state is seeing.
“Something has happened to the plumbing of the world, and we come from a perspective, humbly, that we assert the science that climate change is real,” Newsom told Trump. “Please respect the difference of opinion out here with respect to the fundamental issue of climate change," he said.
Meanwhile, in his speech, Biden also counterattacked on the president’s unfounded allegation that he would “abolish” the suburbs — a claim, political analysts have pointed out, that nods to Biden’s desire to merely enforce a federal rule designed to counter segregation in housing — saying that catastrophic weather events due to climate change were the real threat to the suburbs.
“Donald Trump warns that integration is threatening our suburbs. That’s ridiculous," Biden said. "But you know what’s actually threatening our suburbs? Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the West. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the Midwest. And hurricanes are imperiling suburban life along our coasts."
“If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburbs will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?” he added.
"If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze?" Biden said.
The fires across California, Washington and Oregon have also created hazardous air conditions throughout the western United States as smoke from the devastating blazes stretches for thousands of miles.
In addition, Sally has been upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane as it makes its way up the Gulf of Mexico and toward New Orleans with 85 mph winds. The storm is forecast to bring life-threatening storm surges, strong winds and flash floods to the northern Gulf Coast and make landfall Tuesday.