The internet never forgets, and this weekend, it was remembering how Donald Trump once bashed Smokey the Bear and mocked his message about preventing forest fires.
This week, Trump has waded into a series of controversies regarding deadly forest fires raging across California. Trump has placed some specious blame on a range of things not including global warming, and at one point even threatened to withhold aid to California in what seemed to be out of spite for the blame he believed the state held for the natural disasters.
As Slate pointed out, Donald Trump was not always so interested in promoting wildfire prevention. Amid Trump’s controversial statements blaming poor “forest management” for the fires, some intrepid Twitter users dug up an old tweet in which Trump mocked the Smokey the Bear PSA that tried to teach people how to prevent wildfires.
“Who is paying for that tedious Smokey Bear commercial that is on all the time — enough already!” Trump wrote in early 2015.
To answer Trump’s question, Smokey the Bear was a joint venture of the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Association of State Foresters to teach people how to prevent forest fires. It is the longest-running public service campaign in American history and has been credited with helping to raise awareness of human-caused wildfires.
In the wake of the deadly fires spreading across California, Trump’s old tweets have generated plenty of criticism.
“Trump’s pre-presidential questioning of Smokey’s funding, and thereby utility, is eye-rollingly relevant again given the president’s response to the historic wildfires currently raging in California,” Slate noted.
The tweet was widely shared, giving Trump some criticism over his sudden interest in placing blame on the state of California for what he claimed is poor management of their forests, and critics note that nearly 60 percent of California’s fires are federally owned, and that the current wildfires were first sparked on private lands.
There’s always a tweet https://t.co/cZR27yZBXe
— Candace Amos (@CandaceAmos) November 19, 2018
While he was gaining criticism for his past annoyance with forest fire prevention, earlier in the week, Trump was kicking up controversy for his strange insistence that failing to rake leaves in the forest contributed to the California fires. Trump made the suggestion earlier in the week after he said he saw firefighters raking leaves away ahead of the advancing fire, and again this weekend claimed that the country of Finland doesn’t suffer forest fires because people there rake leaves in the forest. Finland’s president spoke out on Sunday, clarifying that he never made such a claim.