Leonardo DiCaprio condemned President Trump for politicizing the devastation left behind by the latest round of deadly California wildfires on Saturday, November 10.
Within 48 hours of the Camp Fire breaking loose in Butte County, the Mercury News was citing it as the most destructive in California history. The blaze destroying nearly 7,000 structures and took at least nine lives as its flames overwhelmed 100,000 acres of land. In addition, the Hill fire consumed 4,500 acres in Ventura County, and the Woolsey Fire scorched 70,000 acres while erasing over 150 homes, and killing two, in Malibu.
In his final tweets of the evening, President Trump addressed the severity of the disasters and warned citizens to heed whatever evacuation orders they may have received from officials. However, the president’s earliest Twitter activity of the day didn’t come off as civil toward local administrators. He kicked the morning off by insisting that there is no excuse for why the fires got so out of hand and posed a threat to revoke federal funds from the state if they didn’t find a timely solution.
California Professional Firefighters union president Brian Rice caught wind of the ultimatum, and he didn’t take very kindly to the language Trump used to characterize the work that has been put into fire prevention by those he represents. He opened up his response to the tweet by insisting that the president apologize to firefighters and the community at large for causing hurt in a time of such crisis.
“The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines,” Rice said in a statement, per KMOV.
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
The reason these wildfires have worsened is because of climate change and a historic drought. Helping victims and fire relief efforts in our state should not be a partisan issue. https://t.co/WiBnppsr3m— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) November 10, 2018
Before long, some of Rice’s fellow officials came to his defense, as did a couple of high profile celebrities. Governor-elect Gavin Newsom called Trump out for jumping to place blame when it ought to not be “a time for partisanship,” but rather, “a time for coordinating relief and response and lifting those in need up.”
DiCaprio retweeted an article covering chief Rice’s rebuke of the president, and echoed soon-to-be-Governor Newsom’s sentiments, saying relief efforts should never be reduced to “a partisan issue.” While he was at it, the Academy Award-winning actor pitched his two cents in about where the blame needs to be placed, by citing the impact of climate change on the environment.