Trump Threatens Literal Scorched-Earth Policy to Punish California

Donald Trump stands alongside Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom as they view damage from the Camp Fire in Paradise California on Nov. 17 2018

Donald Trump stands alongside Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom as they view damage from the Camp Fire in Paradise California on Nov. 17 2018

President Donald Trump threatened to end federal emergency funding to help aid California's destructive wildfires on Wednesday. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!' Trump added.

State officials have also dismissed Trump's accusations, saying that forest management is only one element of the problem and claiming also that symptoms of climate change like stronger winds and dryer weather could also contribute to the fires.

KCAL-TV reported that FEMA has already approved more than $48.7 million in funds to 6,646 applicants affected by the Camp and Woolsey Fires that devastated the state past year. Jerry Brown described as a "big, big win" for California.

Trump's tweet ignores the fact that almost 60 percent of California's forests are on land owned by the federal government, mainly the National Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Newsom, a Democrat, says "disaster and recovery are no time for politics".

The president's latest statement came a day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom praised him for his quick response to the Camp Fire catastrophe. That includes the Camp Fire, which touched the Plumas National Forest; the Fork Fire, in the Angeles National Forest just east of Pasadena; and the Essex Fire in the Modoc National Forest in California's far northeast corner.

Trump's move targets a state that is home to some of his biggest political rivals, including Democratic US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is leading the fight in Congress against Trump's demands for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall on the Mexican border.

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The second asks CAL FIRE, the state's firefighting agency, to consult with other state departments and assemble a report within 45 days that offers "impactful administrative, regulatory and policy changes or waivers" that Newsom could initiate to mitigate fire risk.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents a district in California, condemned Mr. Trump's tweet Wednesday, calling it a "threat insults the memory of scores of Americans who perished in wildfires past year & thousands more who lost their homes".

Prior to the wildfires he placed the blame for California's wildfires on lack of water to put out the flames and the need for logging.

"The President has seen first-hand our fire-ravaged areas in Northern California", he said.

Last month, Trump signed an executive order to boost logging and forest thinning on more than 4 million acres of federal lands to combat extreme wildfires.

Newsom also pitched an additional $105 million to help California prevent and battle wildfires.

This isn't the first time the US President has lashed out at California for its handling of the destructive wildfires.

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