French officials respond to Trump’s suggestion for putting out the Notre Dame fire

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Image: FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images

By Morgan Sung

France’s iconic Notre Dame cathedral is engulfed in flames, and officials let Trump know that his suggestions were not helpful. 

Completed in 1345 after nearly 250 years of construction, the centuries-old cathedral caught fire on Monday. The exact cause is still unknown, but according to the BBC, officials say recent renovation work could be linked to the blaze. 

Horrified onlookers watched the spire and ceiling collapse in the flames. 

Notre Dame's spire collapsed in the flames.

Image: Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT/Getty Images

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President Trump expressed his condolences on Twitter and suggested using “flying water tankers” to dampen the fire. 

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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019

Two hours later, the French civil security and crisis management account politely subtweeted Trump. Note that this particular tweet is in English while the account’s previous tweets are in French. 

“All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts,” the agency tweeted, explaining that if the Paris Fire Brigade were to use Trump’s suggestion, what’s left of the cathedral could collapse entirely. 

Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible #NotreDame fire under control. All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral.

— Sécurité Civile Fr (@SecCivileFrance) April 15, 2019

Twitter users quickly picked up on the subtle drag.

Veuillez nous excuser pour notre crétin orange.

— Emyll O’Bryan (@TheEmyll) April 15, 2019

Imagine dealing with this situation and then having to go out of your way to explain to a world leader that his “why not dump tons of water on it from the sky” is a bad idea https://t.co/XBkVuhyVWT

— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) April 15, 2019

It’s very normal that we live in a world where a French civil security government Twitter account has to subtweet the most powerful man in the world as he fires off half-baked wetbrained Cliff Clavin ideas while watching TV https://t.co/Ri85mseHQx

— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) April 15, 2019

“We’re not sure of being able to stop the spread of the fire in the north belfry,” a spokesman for the Parisian fire brigade said in television interviews. He said the fire had started in Notre Dame’s attic, and around 400 firefighters were deployed to the site. “I leave you to imagine, in that case, the extent of the damage.” 

As of Monday evening, a French official announced that Notre Dame has been saved from “total destruction.” They’re still scrambling to preserve the priceless artifacts stored in the cathedral. 

The cathedral was in “dire need” of restoration, the New York Times reports. Renovations cost about 120 million euros, according to ABC News

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