Following a week already riddled with criticism, President Donald Trump's weekend on Nov. 17-18 was little better. On Saturday, the president traveled to the Northern California to visit the region devastated by the Camp Fire, but some of his remarks didn't go over too well, and those on social media were quick to react. These tweets about "Finnish Raking Season" are trolling Trump's comments about wildfire prevention. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on Trump's fire comments, but did not hear a response at time of publication.
On Saturday, the president, who'd tweeted a show of support for the Golden State, was joined by outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown and incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom as his visited the wreckage of the town of Paradise (which he accidentally referred to as "Pleasure," twice). Trump emphasized the need for better forest management in preventing wildfires, saying,
You've got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important. You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story ... 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.
Referring to the dry foliage that fueled the California fires, Trump added, "That should have been all raked out. You wouldn't have the fires."
Per CNN, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, responding to Trump's comments, said that while the two leaders spoke about how the Scandinavian country manages forest fires, they never discussed the topic of "raking."
Trump also said that climate change "maybe contributes a little bit" to the outsize fires, but said the fire was more the cause of poor management. Experts, however, have said the fire season has been worsened by the greenhouse gases that have precipitated the conditions for mega-fires.
And per the Washington Post, Finland actually gets too little wildfire; their firefighting techniques are thanks to the controlled burns they perform to restore the land. But it's not the raking that really helps. Rather, the country benefits from a compartmentalized forest system that reduces the spread of fire beyond a contained area. The publication also notes that parts of the country have "prolonged periods" of wet weather, unlike the dry California.
But on a lighter note, Trump's absurd comments on Saturday emphasizing the raking gave Finns all the reason they needed to make fun of the U.S. president. Over the weekend, Twitter in Finland was abuzz with photos of rakes, and the hashtags #Haravointi (which according to Google Translate means "raking"), #FinnishRakingSeason, #RakeNews, and #RakeAmericaGreatAgain were in wide circulation.
Among the Finns who took to Twitter to troll the president was Lauri Markkanen, a basketball player for the Chicago Bulls. "Anybody need their floors raked?" he tweeted. (He added a tweet encouraging people to donate to the fire relief effort as well.)
"Just taking a break from raking leaves and having a lunch," tweeted another user, sharing a photo of barbecuing meat using "the best rakes in the world."
Trolling Trump beyond the raking comment, another user tore into the president's border policy. "Oh bless your hearts you cute little Finns. It's so quaint that you frolic among the elves while raking leaves," tweeted a user with the name Larry Gouge. "Here in Canada we have automated with our forest Roomba. The money we saved is going into building a border wall. Guess which border we're walling off?"
As Trump's comments were reason for a bit of humor, they also come amidst a grave situation in California that is anything but a laughing matter. The Camp Fire in Northern California has claimed the lives of 77 people and counting as of Monday, and is 66 percent contained. Meanwhile, another massive blaze in Southern California, which is now 94 percent contained, killed three people. The reality is that it's a deeply troubling and tragic situation, and it's important to find a real solution.