California governor’s office says focus is on wildfires, not Trump’s ‘inane and uninformed tweets’
California Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) office says they are focusing on the wildfires ravaging both ends of the state and not President Trump’s “inane and uninformed tweets” blaming the disaster on mismanagement of the state’s forests.
“Our focus is on the Californians impacted by these fires and the first responders and firefighters working around the clock to save lives and property — not on the president’s inane and uninformed tweets,” Evan Westrup, the governor’s press secretary, said in a statement to The Hill Sunday.
The response comes one day after the president blamed the deadly California wildfires on “gross mismanagement” of the state’s forests, threatening to withdraw federal funding. The president doubled down on the finger-pointing in a Sunday tweet from France.
State officials in California have pointed out that the areas most damaged by California’s ongoing wildfires have been those managed by the federal government. Last year in the state, 742,050 acres of federal land managed by the U.S. Forest Service burned compared to around 505,956 acres of state-managed land.
The Trump administration has also proposed slashing tens of millions of dollars from the federal agencies that oversee the California forests, McClatchy DC reported.
Republicans were quick to push back on Trump’s threat to pull federal funding on Sunday, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) both vowing on Sunday morning that California would not lose its funding at this critical moment.
Twenty-five people have been killed by the fires so far, and that number is expected to rise, local outlet KTLA reported. Officials say the wildfires are so far considered the third deadliest and most destructive in state history, with 110 people still missing in the area, CNN reported.
Fire officials in California have denounced Trump’s statements on the wildfires as completely false.
“The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong,” California Professional Firefighters President Brian Rice said in a Saturday statement, according to ABC.
He noted 60 percent of California’s forests are under “federal management” while another “two-thirds” are under private control.
“It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California,” Rice said.
Trump has declared a state of emergency for California, allowing federal assistance to supplement local response as three major wildfires burn across the state.
Brown on Sunday requested a “major disaster declaration” from the president, which would increase emergency assistance.