The nation of Finland was collectively dumbfounded by U.S. President Donald Trump's claim from the fire-ravaged town of Paradise, California that Finns prevent such devastating wildfires by consistently "raking" the floors of their forests.
Speaking alongside California's outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic governor-elect Gavin Newsom over the weekend, Trump once again attempted to blame the deadliest wildfire in California's history on poor forest management, and declared that Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told him Finns spend "a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don't have any problem."
When Trump was asked in an interview if the human-caused climate crisis—which has contributed to prolonged droughts and high California heat—may have more to do with the devastating fires than insufficient raking, he said no.
Trump (self-described genius) thinks Finland have fewer forest fires than California because they rake more.pic.twitter.com/FPvtNeuBHo
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) November 17, 2018
In remarks published in a Finnish newspaper on Sunday, Niinisto said he spoke briefly with Trump about forest management when they were both in Paris for Armistice Day events last weekend, but he had no recollection of discussing "raking" as a wildfire prevention practice and laughed when the interviewer asked him about the U.S. president's comments.
"I told him that Finland is a land covered by forests, but we also have a good control system and network," Niinisto said.
Like their president, ordinary Finns were baffled by Trump's comments and quickly took to social media to mock the U.S. president with photos and videos accompanied by hashtags like #RakeFinlandGreatAgain and #RakeNews.
“It rains like hell and is cold AF.”pic.twitter.com/dfXJ86oOHy
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) November 19, 2018
— Arto Aspfors (@aspfors) November 18, 2018
— Anders Furu (@ATFuru) November 18, 2018
— Tarja van Veldhoven (@tarjuccia) November 19, 2018
— Stephen Sutton (@Stippidoo) November 18, 2018
One Finnish woman posted a photo pretending to vaccuum the forest floor.
"Just an ordinary day in the Finnish forest," she wrote.
Just an ordinary day in the Finnish forest ~ Ihan normipäivä suomalaisessa metsässä #Trump #forest #firesafety #raking #forestry #Finland #Finnish #CaliforniaFire #RakingAmericaGreatAgain #rakingtheforest #Suomi #haravointi #metsäpalot #rakingleaves pic.twitter.com/YOKA3D6C2K
— Pyry Luminen (@pyryluminen) November 18, 2018