I don't feel bad calling President Trump an ignoramus. I bet if ever met me, he'd label me similar or worse. Like the way he calls the Democrats "Dems" - pronounced "Dims" - an apparent play on intelligence.
This is not the source of my renewed dislike of the man. Lively debates regarding personality types and ideological differences enthuse me. The cold water poured on my little enthusiasm for Trump was his not showing up for the Armistice celebrations in Paris last weekend due to rain.
The excuse offered was that for safety reasons, his helicopter is not allowed to fly in heavy rain or fog. The White House also said, that to get the Trump there on time by road, would have meant closing "substantial portions of the Paris roadways at short notice" and he decided not to "cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people". How noble.
I side with John Kerry. "President Donald Trump a no-show because of raindrops? Those veterans the president didn't bother to honour, fought in the rain, in the mud, in the snow and many died in trenches for the cause of freedom. Rain didn't stop them and it shouldn't have stopped an American president," tweeted the former secretary of state and Vietnam War veteran. What further fanned the flames of my disfavour, was Trump's callous tweet regarding the fires in California. Amid calls to declare California a disaster area, Trump huffed and puffed on Twitter that the devastation was due to "gross mismanagement of the forests".
Adding insult to injury, he threatened to cut federal aid as punishment for this negligence.
A fire scientist, Matthew Hurteau, reacted saying that Trump has it all wrong since, for one, a large portion of the area burning, is not forest. Hurteau explains that fire is a necessary part of the Californian ecosystem, moderated by rain and snowfall. With warmer temperatures due to global warming, a difference in these fire patterns is to be expected.
But then again, Trump believes global warming is a hoax.
Having witnessed the destruction of 91 000 hectares in our region during the recent fire storm, Trump's statements are salt to our wounds. On Wednesday, a friend sent me a video clip of yellow-clad spots traipsing through vast, charred landscapes. Through the smoke, you can see what these firefighters are desperately trying to protect and save. The feisty flames are gone, but smouldering patches bear an ominous warning.
He labelled the video Day 20. During these harrowing 20 days, his two daughters joined in the battle against the fire, inspired by not only the example of their father and other firemen, but because they cared for something greater than themselves.
Fire scientist Matthew Hurteau aptly sums it up. "You cannot possibly understand what it means to live with the risk of wildfire until you have to do so. At the start of the fire season, you pack up the things in your house you cannot replace and stage them so they are ready to be thrown into the car.
"You make a plan for your family and your pets. You identify escape routes and put together a bag with clothing and you spend the summer alert to smoke, radio reports and evacuation notices. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is one of those who does not understand wildfire." It's a crying shame.