In his latest attack on the state he returned to old complaints of forest management, including recommending better cleaning of the forest floors, as he first did in 2018.
In a truly remarkable display of forest management knowledge (for someone who has likely never visited a national park in his life, except, perhaps, as a uncomfortable campaign stop), Trump took advantage of the latest round of horrific fires in southern California to take political potshots on Twitter at California’s Democratic governor:
“Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states… But our teams are working well together in putting these massive, and many, fires out. Great firefighters!
“Also, open up the ridiculously closed water lanes coming down from the North. Don’t pour it out into the Pacific Ocean. Should be done immediately. California desperately needs water, and you can have it now!”
For his part, Governor Newsom gave Trump’s criticisms all of the consideration they merited:
… California’s governor was quick to highlight the role of the environmental crisis in spreading the fires. In response to the president, Mr Newsom tweeted: “You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.”
Although predicting the behavior of a sociopath is never a safe bet, the best assumption seems to be that Trump is simply lying about his threat to withhold aid. Trump made the same threat this January, claiming he had ordered FEMA to stop all emergency aid to California. Later it was determined that he had made no such order.
The real purpose of this particular brand of Trump malevolence seems to be to reinforce his voting base’s perceptions of California, which are largely based on Fox News and tabloid sensationalism. Because California voters have had the good sense to regularly vote Democratic, the state (which boasts the 6th largest economy in the world) is a perennial target for right-wing propaganda and misinformation. The presence of Hollywood and the film industry also makes for routine bashing on Fox News and other Republican outrage outlets, because so many of Republicans’ favorite actors thoroughly despise the GOP and all it represents.
Trump’s threat is particularly hollow when one considers the fact that over half of California’s forest acreage is under federal control.
Although the president has a history of casting blame on California officials, most of California’s forests are owned and managed by federal agencies. Federal agencies manage 57 percent of the approximately 33 million acres of forest in the state, according to research done by the University of California.
So any negligence or poor handling of the fire situation in California is for the most part, Trump’s own fault.
Trump’s threat to deny emergency funding for fighting these killer fires is really a threat against the lives of all Californians, regardless of their political persuasion. Since few Republican voices—and apparently none outside the state itself– seem to consider this malicious singling out of California as conduct worthy of condemnation, it would appear that the citizens of California made a very wise decision in eradicating the Republican Party from all positions of power within the state.