President Trump, trying to put the heat on Speaker Nancy Pelosi over border wall funding, said today that he has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to withhold funding for California.
It is a really remarkable vindictive political play by a president who is desperately attempting to find $5.7 billion to fund his controversial border wall.
In a tweet where he misspelled “forest” twice, Trump wrote:
“Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forrest (sic) fires that, with proper Forrest (sic) Management, would never happen,” Trump tweeted.
“Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money,” he added, calling it a “disgraceful situation in lives & money.”
Trump later retweeted the statement with “forest” correctly spelled.
Pelosi immediately lashed out at Trump for making the threat.
“Trump’s threat insults the memory of scores of Americans who perished in wildfires last year & thousands more who lost their homes,” Pelosi said.
She also encouraged House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, another Californian, to join her in condemning Trump.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) used his first full day in office to meet with emergency responders and tour high-risk forest fire areas.
He also signed two executive orders to better integrate technology in emergency response and take into consideration victims’ socioeconomic status in emergencies.
Newsom additionally announced Tuesday he would join the governors of Oregon and Washington to request Trump double the federal investment in fire management in the western states.
FEMA and DHS are currently without funding amid a partial government shutdown that has lasted 19 days and counting.
Trump has at least twice before threatened to withhold disaster funding from California for its wildfires and pressed the state to fix what he sees as major flaws with its forest management practices that cause or exacerbate fires.
Local officials and fire experts, meanwhile, have criticized Trump for ignoring the impact that climate change is having on the length and severity of fires — and denying climate change science — while giving too much credit to forest management.
California passed a comprehensive law last year aimed at wildfires. Among other changes, it puts new resources into clearing out brush, dead trees and other biomass that contributes to fires.
A majority of forest land in the state, however, is owned by the federal government.
Wildfires ravaged the state in 2018, with the Camp Fire in Northern California killing at least 85 people and destroying thousands of buildings.
The wildfire was the deadliest in the state’s history and racked up an overall damage cost of $16.5 billion, according to reinsurance firm Munich Re, which on Tuesday named it the costliest disaster of 2018.
As the Camp Fire raged in November, Trump threatened to withhold federal payments to the state unless officials addressed forest management.
Trump ultimately issued a disaster declaration for California that freed up federal funding.Attribution:The Hill