In a routine late-night tweet full of misspellings, President Donald Trump threatened to cut off FEMA aid to California. Apparently not content with passively trashing the Golden State by letting garbage and human waste accumulate in the national parks, the president has decided to actively endanger the California’s recovery from the fires that devastated many hundreds of thousands of acres and killed dozens of Americans.
Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2019
As usual, the tweet regurgitates several planks of right-wing dogma that do not stand up to the facts. There remains a pernicious and enduring myth that California has become completely dysfunctional, or that immigrants destroyed what was once a middle-class paradise. Because the president insists that climate change is an expensive hoax, forest fires are therefore solely a function of an ungovernable state failing to get its unspecified act together. Trump failed to mention PG&E’s probable role in the Camp Fire and the $3 billion in damage it caused, or that the federal government — not California — controls and manages 60 percent of the forested terrain in the state. At least he didn’t instruct us to rake.
Further, this news came as surprise to FEMA. According to Politico, the ongoing partial government shutdown means the department’s media team isn’t working, and no one had word of this edict.
South Bay Rep. Ro Khanna set the record straight, although one wishes he’d emphasized the fact that the President of the United States is actively threatening his own citizens’ lives. But we’re sadly all numb to that kind of nonsense by now.
This is a factually incorrect threat to citizens in California. The President has a responsibility to consult science and experts. His biggest flaw is not being aware of what he doesn’t know. https://t.co/VCmGAGmLav
— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) January 9, 2019
Whenever the U.S. elects a new president, North Korea tends to respond with flamboyant provocations — like testing a missile over Japan — simply to gauge the new administration’s reaction. We know how much the president admires dictators. Perhaps an aide only recently whispered in his ear that California has a new governor, and Trump wants to test Gavin Newsom’s mettle. Newsom has used his first couple days in office to meet with first responders, visit areas at risk of future fires, and issue executive orders that beef up the state’s fire-response technology and better consider victims’ socioeconomic status when disasters strike.