Burned home in Paradise from CalFire map


Trump's FEMA Fire Tweet Fires Up California GOP

Doug Sovern
January 11, 2019 - 12:07 pm

SACRAMENTO — Republicans in California are angry about the tweet posted by President Trump that threatened to withdraw federal disaster assistance and blamed last years's wildfires on poor forest management. 

GOP state Sen. Jim Nielsen, who represents the town of Paradise and other parts of fire-ravaged Butte County, told KCBS Radio that he was "righteously unhappy" about Trump's comments. 

"That's no way to do business with the affected populations," he said. "They're just devastated, and I was right in Paradise yesterday when this all came down. That was unwise. Both the governor and particularly the president need to get back together and work to help solve this problem."

Trump had complained about "billions of dollars" spent in California on forest fires and said he'd ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cut aid to the state. 

Wildfire survivors in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties had been eligible for federal funds. On its website, FEMA said that it approved $48,7 billion in assistance from 6,646 applicants in those fire-scarred areas. 

Behind the scenes, the seven members of California's GOP Congressional delegation are working to get the president to retract the threat. 

On Wednesday, Nielsen and his Butte County counterpart in the Assembly, James Gallagher, issued a joint statement reading in part that "This Twitter war ... is not helpful. It will not solve the problem," and saying the threat to withhold FEMA funds is "wholly unacceptable."

A statement from Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa of Butte County denounced the threat to withdraw funding.

"These are American citizens who require our help," said LaMalfa, who added that he expects President Trump to keep his promise to assist the people of California.

California Democrats were also quick condemn the Trump's tweet. 

Governor Newsom tweeted back that the "folks in Paradise should not be victims to partisan bickering," and that the president shouldn't play games with people's lives. Newsom had written to President Trump on Tuesday to ask him to double federal funding for Western forest management. 

The state's 46 House Democrats have invited the seven GOP members of the delegation to a bipartisan meeting to discuss the threat, but it appears the Republican legislators believe their own private appeals to the White House will do more good. 

Congressman Ken Calvert, who represents part of the Inland Empire in Southern California, posted on Twitter a letter he wrote to Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, advising her and her Democratic colleagues to take a page from President Lincoln's book - and temper their anger.

Written by Diana Shook