While visiting wildfire-ravaged areas of California over the weekend, President Donald Trump committed a few gaffes. In addition to mistakenly calling the burned-to-the-ground city of Paradise “pleasure,” repeatedly, Trump also once again made the claim that “raking” could have prevented the fires — this time, citing an apparently fabricated conversation with Finnish president Sauli Niinistö.
“You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story, Trump told reporters on Saturday. “I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation. And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem.”
Although President Niinistö does in fact recall a conversation with Trump about the fires while visiting Paris for Veterans Day observations last weekend, he says the subject of “raking” was not discussed.
“I mentioned him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network,” Niinistö told the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat on Sunday, and in particular remembers telling Trump “we take care of our forests.”