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President Trump threatened to cut federal funding to California over “poor” management as deadly wildfires ravage parts of the state.
On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted his first comments on the wildfires since they began earlier this week, making no mention of the nine confirmed victims. Instead, he criticized forest management and threatening to withhold federal payments to California.
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
Authorities confirmed nine people have died so far, and 250,000 residents have been evacuated due to what has quickly grown into California’s most destructive fire in at least a century.
On Friday afternoon, Trump approved an emergency declaration for California, allowing for the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to coordinate on disaster relief, including air support and evacuation assistance. His tweet Saturday morning seems to suggest he may withhold federal assistance for future wildfires.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s operating budget for 2018 is $2.3 billion. The state agency is responsible for providing wildfire relief throughout most of the state.
It’s not the first time this year Trump has criticized the handling of wildfires by state officials. In August, he tweeted that the Mendocino Complex Fire wildfire was being made worse by bad environmental laws that did not allow available water to be properly utilized.
Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water - Nice! Fast Federal govt. approvals.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2018