On Monday, amid breaking news reports about the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris, POTUS took to Twitter to offer his condolences — and a little bit of advice. Trump responded to the Notre Dame fire by suggesting France uses "flying water tankers" to put out the fire. And though firefighters do technically use air tankers sometimes to drop water over fires, it doesn't seem like the city of Paris is going to take Trump's advice.
Trump tweeted, "So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!"
The tweet immediately drew responses that included confusion, frustration, and flat out disapproval of the suggestion. It's not totally clear what the president meant, though many took his suggestion to mean that Paris should use air tankers to drop thousands of gallons of water on the cathedral. To CNBC, Wayne McPartland, a retired New York City Fire Department battalion chief, said this was far from a good idea.
“If you hit that [structure] with tons of water from above, that’s going to collapse the entire structure and make the situation worse,” he said. "If you miss, you might hit civilians in the street.”
Other civilians had different problems with POTUS' tweet, unrelated to his "flying water tankers" suggestion. Ed Krassenstein, co-founder of The Hill Reporter, pointed out that Trump's response to this fire was a stark contrast in subject matter and tone to the approach he took to the California wildfires last year. He tweeted to POTUS, "And when California burns you threaten to take away federal support..."
According to Politico, Trump addressed the fire again on Monday, during a roundtable discussion in Minnesota on tax cuts and the U.S. economy. The publication reports the president as saying the fire was “something like few people have witnessed.“
“It's one of the great treasures of the world,“ he said, clarifying that he believed there was “probably no cathedral in the world like it." Trump added, “It's a terrible sight to behold."
Trump wasn't the only White House official to acknowledge the tragedy in Paris. His wife did as well, tweeting, "My heart breaks for the people of Paris after seeing the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Praying for everyone’s safety."
The vice president also tweeted his condolences, writing, "Notre Dame is an iconic symbol of faith to people all over the world – and it is heartbreaking to see a house of God in flames. Our thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters on the scene and all the people of Paris."
As for the leaders of France, their collective devastation over the partial loss of such an iconic historical site was palpable. President Emmanuel Macron wrote a tweet that translates in English to this heartbreaking statement: "Our Lady of Paris in flames. [The] Emotion of a whole nation. Thought[s] for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see this part of us burn."