Richmond mayor Tom Butt did not mince words when expressing his feelings about President Donald Trump, comparing the commander-in-chief's positions on climate change to "the dark ages."
“I was reminded that the times we are going through with Trump are not unlike the Dark Ages, when reclusive monks in remote monasteries copied and preserved ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts until they could be rediscovered in the Renaissance,” Butt wrote in an open letter.
The letter describes an experience Butt had as a presenter at the California Climate Change Symposium in Sacramento, hosted by California Natural Resources Agency and CalEPA.
Butt wrote that during the conference, a presenter from the U.S. Geological Survey said that some environmentalists have been working furiously to transfer critical data to the private sector, so that it would continue to be accessible to the public.
“The scientific community and the political leaders of California are the modern monks who are guarding that flame that will be needed to reignite civilization once Trump leaves office,” Butt concluded.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration issued gag orders to staffers at the Environmental Protection Agency, triggering outrage across the country. The move also caused a maelstrom on Twitter that resulted in accounts linked to the National Park Service going rogue and tweeting out climate facts, much to the delight of the Twitterverse – and, reportedly, the consternation of Trump.
What’s more, the Trump administration announced that political staffers would be reviewing the EPA’s scientific findings before releasing them to the public, leading many to worry that facts that don’t jive with the administration’s climate policies will be scrubbed.
“We'll take a look at what's happening so that the voice coming from the EPA is one that's going to reflect the new administration,” Doug Erickson, head of communications for Trump’s EPA transition team, told NPR Tuesday.
Butt also disavowed Trump’s executive actions on immigration, which threaten to pull funding from sanctuary cities like Richmond. There is debate about whether removing funding would be legal, and the mayor has previously vowed to protect the city’s immigrant population.
“Every day, the Trump administration becomes more incredibly unbelievable,” Butt wrote.
With his recent comments, Butt joins the ranks of other Bay Area leaders who have spoken out against Trump, including Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. State leaders, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Kamala Harris, have also expressed their disapproval.