Trump Threatens to Halt Disaster Aid to California Fire Victims

President Donald Trump

The president approved a federal disaster declaration after the fire, but not before criticizing forest management and threatening to cut off federal payments to California.

"Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forrest fires that, with proper Forrest Management, would never happen", Trump tweeted, initially misspelling the word forest before repeating the tweet with the word corrected. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!' Trump added.

In November, the deadliest USA wildfire in a century leveled the California town of Paradise, killing 86 people and destroying about 14,000 homes.

Mr. Trump has long claimed that the wildfires which have plagued California were a result of forest mismanagement, instead of the scientifically accepted theory that climate change is impacting the acceleration of forest fires in the state.

Critics on social media questioned whether Trump could legally withhold FEMA money that has already been appropriated. FEMA did not immediately have a comment for the record when asked by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Last April, Trump falsely stated that the California government is diverting river water into the Pacific Ocean that could be used to fight forest fires, but he also signaled he will fast-track federal help.

"We have been put in office by the voters to get things done", Newsom wrote, "not to play games with lives". Trump toured the fire devastation with Newsom. He has said he'll hold back federal dollars for fire disasters before, but has not executed on that threat.

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"The people of CA - folks in Paradise - should not be victims to partisan bickering", Newsom stated saying he's ready to take action on modernizing forest and emergency responses.

Wildfire survivors in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties had been eligible for federal funds.

Governor Gavin Newsom proposed US$305 million to remove thousands of acres of forests and brush, expand emergency crews and modernise California's 911 systems.

Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp Fire consume a home in Magalia, Calif., Nov. 9, 2018.

Paradise Town Councilman Steven Crowder, a Republican, hadn't seen the president's tweet on Wednesday morning, but called it "disturbing". But he tweeted he thinks that is "unlikely".

In a tweet, Trump accused the state of failing to properly manage its forests. The House, newly under Democrats' control, is planning to vote on a package as soon as next week.

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