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Tipsheet

Trump Threatens to Pull Federal Funding for California Wildfires; Firefighters Union Blast Him

President Donald Trump on Saturday threatened to pull federal funding from California if the state continued to mismanage their forests. He took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the massive wildfires plaguing the southwest:

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The fires that are currently taking place in the Golden State are now amongst the deadliest and most destructive fires in state history, USA Today reported. The entire town of Paradise, located in the northern part of the state, has been wiped out and nine people have died.

Despite his feelings on the state's forest management, or lack there of, Trump did declare a state of emergency for Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, meaning they're eligible for federal funding.

But according to the president of the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) union, Trump's comments come at a bad time.

The CPF's president, Brian Rice, released the following statement about Trump's assertions:

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.

At a time when our every effort should be focused on vanquishing the destructive fires and helping the victims, the president has chosen instead to issue an uninformed political threat aimed squarely at the innocent victims of these cataclysmic fires.

At this moment, thousands of our brother and sister firefighters are putting their lives on the line to protect the lives and property of thousands. Some of them are doing so even as their own homes lay in ruins. In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines.

The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong. Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.

Natural disasters are not “red” or “blue” – they destroy regardless of party. Right now, families are in mourning, thousands have lost homes, and a quarter-million Americans have been forced to flee. At this desperate time, we would encourage the president to offer support in word and deed, instead of recrimination and blame.

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Although Trump faced backlash for his comments, he did tweet later in the day to encourage Californians to evacuate if need be.

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