A total of nine people have now perished in what started out as an out of control camp fire near Paradise, California this week. The deaths, many of them in cars as they tried fleeing the flames engulfing their neighborhoods, have certainly caught the president’s attention.
One would think that when a natural disaster of this magnitude takes place, the president would be sympathetic to the state, and do all he can to help, but this is Donald Trump and he is anything but a ‘normal’ president.
While Trump did approve an emergency declaration for the state of California on Friday, he did so with sort of a caveat. Instead of offering up any help that the state needs in continuing to remedy this tragedy, he instead attacked California and threatened to pull future aide.
“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!” the president tweeted early this morning from Paris, France.
This is not the first time Trump has attacked California’s management of wildfire prevention. Recently in a cabinet meeting he complained, “it’s costing our country hundreds of billions of dollars because of incompetence in California.”
The problem is, that it’s not costing the federal government anywhere near that amount. Cal Fire’s operating budget for 2018-2019 is just $2.3 billion, and federal Fire Management Assistance Grants, which are authorized through FEMA, reimburse about 75% of the firefighting costs.
California’s Governor, Jerry Brown is one of Trump’s biggest critics and has done everything he can to fight the president’s policies on a state level. Regardless, Trump is the President of the United States, and last we checked, that includes the state of California as well.