National parks are suffering under the government shutdown with limited staff not being able to handle the trash and human waste piling up in places like Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Parks. Two California Democratic Congress members have taken the crisis into their own hands by picking up some of the trash themselves and delivering it to the White House.
Rep. Jackie Speier and Rep. Jared Huffman took to Land’s End and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Fransisco Saturday and cleaned up trash, putting it in large blue bins labeled “Trump’s trash.”
Because Trump is ignoring the consequences of his ridiculous #shutdown, @RepSpeier & I are taking garbage we picked up at our national parks and delivering it to the White House. Our message is simple: @realdonaldtrump, open the gov. Watch @ 445 EST at https://t.co/Q0ZpyTfhL2 pic.twitter.com/9pixbj6d23
— Rep. Jared Huffman (@RepHuffman) January 8, 2019
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) January 5, 2019
Tuesday afternoon, Speier and Huffman arrived at the White House with the blue bins and the trash they collected packaged up in boxes. Speier tweeted that she paid for the trash to be shipped to Washington.
@RepHuffman and I are delivering trash that he and I cleaned up in national parks in our districts last weekend and that I personally paid to have shipped to DC so that we can deliver it to the White House. pic.twitter.com/kutje4Ue6F
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) January 8, 2019
“We are doing this to provide, hopefully, a reality check to our president,” Huffman told reporters outside the White House. “It could never be said that I didn’t give anything to Donald Trump because today I’m bringing boxes of trash from that rainy Saturday in San Fransisco to provide a reality check to the president so he understands that his political stunt over shutting down the government over the border wall has real-world consequences.”
The National Parks remain open for the most part but are severely understaffed. According to Curbed, the human waste that has piled up alongside the roads in Yosemite National Park has destroyed habitats. On Tuesday, Joshua Tree National Park announced they were closing in order to take care of the trash problem. The Los Angeles Times reported the campsites at the park had already closed last week due to health concerns over bathroom facilities not being cleaned.
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) January 6, 2019
“We don’t need a nationally televised address from the White House to solve this problem tonight,” Huffman continued, taking a jab at Tuesday’s night’s televised address made by Trump. “What we need is President Trump to wake up and smell the coffee cups and the diapers and the burrito wrappers and the trash that is piling up.”
Speier told reporters that beyond the waste problem, a larger issue is the federal employees who are not getting paid.
“This is not how you treat the employees of the federal government that protect us, whether you’re working for the FBI or the DEA or Customs and Border Patrol or TSA, you have a right to be paid,” she said. Speier said that the shutdown was “artificially contrived” by Trump to get his border wall but the president needed to work with Congress to ensure federal workers receive paychecks.
“They’re being disrespected right now,” Huffman said about the nearly 800,000 federal employees affected by the shutdown.
“We owe them better. And this tantrum from president Donald Trump is doing real damage to parks, to natural resources and to hundreds of thousands of people. We owe them better, it’s time to reopen the government.”