As California’s wildfires threaten heavily populated areas and rage out of control, President Donald Trump is threatening to pull funding to fight the flames.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump said in a tweet in the wee hours of Saturday morning. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement to the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
At least nine people had died in the most recent string of blazes as of Saturday afternoon, and officials were calling it the most destructive California wildfire in history. Almost the entire city of Paradise, Calif., has been ravaged by the fire. The most recent bout of wildfires began this week, ABC News reported.
On Friday, President Trump approved an emergency declaration for California to respond to the crisis. The funds will pay for air support, relief supplies, and evacuations, according to ABC News.
The president’s tweet indicated, however, that there might be no more payments coming. Trump’s comments drew a wave of recriminations from people who accused him of lacking empathy and being cruel.
“(Callous), ignorant, cruel, machinations,” responded @dwood_bucket. “Can you lay off the accelerator of partisan politics to take in to account that these are real people. Try being empathetic to the problem at hand. Human lives are being lost, human lives are being impacted and here you are making threats.
Calluse, ignorant, cruel, machinations. Can you lay off the accelerator of partisan politics to take into account that these are real people. Try being empathetic to the problem at hand. Human lives are being lost, human lives are being impacted and here you making threats.
— Dean (@dwood_bucket) November 10, 2018
“Please hurry to California,” posted @scullymike. “We’re running desperately low on paper towels and ignorance,” he wrote, an apparent reference the president’s heavily criticized visit to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria during which he tossed rolls of paper towels to survivors.
Posted @JKuenzie, “Nine Americans have died. Many others have lost their homes. An entire town wiped out. Firefighters risking their lives. And all you can do is criticize. Heartless.”
Trump has shared an antagonistic relationship with California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is set to be replaced by Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, another Trump enemy. Newsom was married to Kimberly Guilfoyle, who dates Donald Trump Jr.