This morning, President Trump tweeted while on a trip in Paris, threatening the state of California that federal funding would be withheld if nothing is done to “remedy” the “gross mismanagement of the forests,” according to ABC News.
Nine people have lost their lives as the wildfires continue to spread throughout Northern California, causing millions of dollars in damage and burning the entire town of Paradise to the ground. President Trump approved an emergency declaration for the state on Friday, which allows the federal government to aid cities and towns with air support, relief supplies, and evacuation transport.
President Trump has been vocal in his criticism of the state on this issue before, tweeting a missive this past August along the same lines. The tweet in question can be read below.
President Trump also criticized California’s handling of its rampant wildfires during a cabinet meeting last October, where he called California “a mess” and “disgraceful,” in an exchange with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
“I say to the Governor, or whoever is going to be the Governor, of California– You’d better get your act together,” Trump declared. “Because California, we’re not just going to continue to pay the kind of money that we’re paying because of fires that should never be to the extent.”
California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2018
“It’s costing our country hundreds of billions of dollars because of incompetence in California,” President Trump continued.
Fire officials have dismissed Trump’s statements and remedies as misguided.
“We have plenty of water to fight these fires,” said Deputy California Fire Chief Scott McLean in August.
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
Nevertheless, the Trump administration moved to override the Endangered Species Act to provide extra water that the fire crews didn’t need. It is also unclear how President Trump arrived at the figure of “hundreds of billions of dollars” when CalFire’s operating budget is only $2.3 billion.
Michael Mann, an atmospheric science professor at Penn State University, told PBS that he believes climate change is leading to the increased seriousness of the wildfires in California. Mann’s statements can be found in the embedded tweet below.
"We're not saying that climate change is literally causing the events to occur. What we can conclude, with a great deal of confidence now, is that climate change is making these events more extreme," @MichaelEMann says of events like droughts, heatwaves and fires taking place now pic.twitter.com/N0LsS7OJge
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) August 6, 2018
The Trump administration removed the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement in June 2017. Ironically, President Trump sent his morning Tweet from Paris, where he is meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
President Trump has had a contentious relationship with Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, and it appears that he will have an even less friendly relationship with California’s new Governor-elect Gavin Newsom. Newsom is the ex-husband of former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is currently dating Donald Trump, Jr.