It started on Saturday when the US President Donald Trump was standing in the middle of the devastation brought by the recent wildfires in California.

President Trump was observing the scene and said that to prevent wildfires it’s very important “to take care of the floors.”

He shared a small anecdote of talking recently with the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.

“I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We have a much different—we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things,” Trump said. “And they don’t have any problem.”


On Sunday after hard celebrations of Little Christmas here and there, loud giggles started spreading around the offices of Finnish media houses. The hangovers were quickly forgotten amidst the furious pounding of keyboards.

Raking! Raking our forests? Did President Niinistö really say that?

People on social media started running amok, too. It didn’t take too long for this video to come out:

By Sunday evening, the president’s office had been reached. Unfortunately, the president was not available for a comment because of attending Latvia’s centennial celebration of independence in Riga.

However, Director of Communications Katri Makkonen was kind to respond in an email to MTV News.

Makkonen said that Trump had spoken with Niinistö at the Paris Peace Forum about two weeks ago.

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“He [President Niinistö] wanted to express his condolences because of the deaths and great devastation caused by the wildfires,” Makkonen said. “He [Niinistö] had said that we take care of our forests, so the topic of the conversation was not really about raking.”

The word “raking” raises also a few problems. According to Professor Antti Asikainen from Natural Resources Institute Finland, in the United States raking means harvesting the logging residues to piles with a bulldozer with a brush rake. “Trump used the right word in the right context—knowingly or unknowingly,” he said.

Cover photograph: President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and Mrs. Jenni Haukio welcomed the President of the United States of America Donald Trump and Mrs. Melania Trump to Mäntyniemi residence in Helsinki on July 16, 2018. Photograph: Juhani Kandell/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland