Two major fires in California – Camp Fire, in the north of the state, and Woolsey, in the south – already leave 31 dead and more than 300,000 evacuated: these are people who lost everything, including their lives. And yet, the response that President Trump gave to the events from Paris, France, through his Twitter account has again generated outrage.
On Friday he wrote a tweet accusing, once again, the government of the state of California of the fires. According to him, the local authorities carry out a “poor management” of the problem, for which he threatened to take away the economic support they receive to fight them.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” The President Twitted. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
Although he dedicated two messages to ask the inhabitants of California to follow the evacuation measures of the authorities in a different tone, writing that “our hearts are with those who fight the fire” and the families of the victims, then launched another dart “With proper forest management, we can stop the devastation that is constantly happening in California, be smart!”
One of the first to react to his comments was the president of California Professional Firefighters, Brian K. Rice, in a written statement : “Trump’s message attacking California and threatening to remove aid from victims of cataclysmic fires (reveals that he is) misinformed, untimely and degrading to those who are suffering, as well as to men and women on the front lines (fires).”
“He is dangerously wrong”
Rice harshly criticized President Trump’s choice to attack California’s forest management policies at a time when women and men are battling devastating fire, while their homes have also been left in ruins and there are so many victims. He considered it “dangerously wrong”.
He took the opportunity to offer an expert opinion: “Wildfires are unleashed and spread not only in forested areas but also in populated areas and open fields fed by dry vegetation, strong winds, low humidity and geography (…) Also, almost 60% of California’s forests are under federal administration, and another two thirds are under private control, and it is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources from forest management, not California,” he said.
The association presided by Rice represents more than 300,000 firefighters and paramedics in California and on its official website you can read the message: “Natural disasters are not ‘red’ or ‘blue’ , they are destroyed regardless of the party.” He also said that at this desperate moment, they encouraged Trump to offer support “with words and deeds, instead of recriminations and blame.”
Politicians rejected the accusation
Just five days after the mid-term elections, which modified the balance of power and kept politicians very active, some of them reacted to Trump’s accusation against California.
Gavin Newsom, California’s newly elected governor, wrote on his Twitter account : “Lives have been lost, entire towns have been burned to the ground, cars abandoned on the side of the road, people are forced to flee their homes. . This is not a time for partisanship. This is a time to coordinate relief and response and lift the needy.”
The mayor of the city of Long Beach, in California, Robert Garcia, replied to one of Trump’s accusing tweets: “People are dying, property is being destroyed, and our firemen are in a dangerous situation. inappropriate and cruel to say, you are the president. ”
Celebrities such as singer Katy Perry and actor Leonardo DiCaprio also raised their voices. She wrote on her Twitter that Trump’s response was “absolutely heartless, there’s not even politics involved, only good American families losing their homes, evacuated inside shelters, while you’re twittering.”
DiCaprio wrote without replicating the President’s message: “The reason these forest fires have worsened is because of climate change and a historical drought.” Helping victims and fire relief efforts in our state should not be a Partisan question “.
It is not the first accusation
In August of this year, the President had placed his focus on the fires and said through his Twitter user @realDonaldTrump:
“California forest fires are getting magnified and getting worse because of bad environmental laws that do not allow for the proper use of large amounts of available water, it is diverting to the Pacific Ocean, and the tree must be left clear to avoid let the fire spread!”
There are many celebrities who live in the disaster zone and some of them have had to evacuate their homes. For example Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West, Guillerno del Toro and Caitlyn Jenner, are some of them.
Actor Will Smith has recorded live videos on his Instagram account to show smoke from the fires and show concern for what happens.
At a press conference on Sunday, authorities warned of the danger posed by strong winds in the containment of the Camp Fire and Woolsey fires. “Please heed evacuation orders, when we ask them to leave, please do so,” they warned.