President Trump Says He's Cutting Off FEMA Money For California Fires

By RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter

January 9, 2019

Trump says he will withhold aid from California for wildfires

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cease sending money to California to fight wildfires there. 

The announcement Wednesday comes after California experienced a particularly brutal wildfire season in 2018, with hundreds of thousands of acres burned and entire communities leveled. At the time, Trump repeatedly criticized officials in California the state's management of its forest areas.

"Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen," Trump wrote Wednesday morning. "Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"

An initial tweet by the president misspelled the word "Forrest" twice. That tweet was deleted and the same message was tweeted again with the correct spelling of "forest." 

Newly-minted governor, Gavin Newsom blasted Trump's threat, saying the president's go-to strategy for governing was "fear and division." 

On Tuesday, Newsom proposed another $105 million in spending to help prevent, fight and help residents escape wildfires. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose home district is in San Francisco, was also quick to condemn Trump's threat to cut off wildfire aid to Californians, writing that the president was insulting the memory of the Americans who died or lost their homes to the wildfires last year. Pelosi called on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to join her in condemning the president's action. 

"@GOPLeader must join me to condemn & call on POTUS to reassure millions in CA that our govt will be there for them in their time of need," Pelosi wrote on Twitter. 

It's unclear whether Trump has already issued the order to FEMA to cut off money for California fires or is just continuing his threats to do so. On Tuesday, FEMA announced the deadline for residents applying for wildfire aid had been extended from Friday Jan. 11, to Jan. 31.

California is still recovering from one of the most brutal wildfire seasons in the state's history. In November, the Camp Fire in northern California broke out, destroying more than 14,000 homes and killing 86 people, making it the deadliest in state history. The fire has been blamed on improperly maintained power lines operated by PG&E.

Further south, the Woolsey Fire broke out on the same day. The blaze eventually jumped the south side of the 101 Freeway near Calabasas, destroying more than 1,500 structures and three deaths as it spread into Malibu. 

In 2017, two fires in Mendocino County combined to burn some 1,100 homes around the Redding area. That fire became the largest in California history, after it charred more than 459,100 acres. 

Trump's declaration that he will cut off wildfire aid to California comes as he takes political heat for the ongoing partial government shutdown.

Photo: Getty Images

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