Donald Trump Blames California Wildfires on Forest Mismanagement, Threatens to Pull Federal Funding

President Donald Trump addressed the California wildfires in a tweet on Saturday morning, condemning the state's response and management of the disaster.

The president posted about the wildfires at around 3 a.m. ET on Saturday morning. He was on a trip to Paris, France, where he and President Macron will celebrate anniversary of the end of World War I. His tweet about the wildfires, however, did little to inspire peacefulness back home in the U.S.

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," he wrote. "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!"

The wildfires have claimed at least nine lives already, and 35 people remain missing. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, and thousands of them are now living in shelters. According to a report by CBS News, firefighters in Paradise, California were forced to give up on putting out the flames and focus on rescuing people instead.

"There was really no firefight involved," said Captain Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed. It's that kind of devastation."

Naturally, there was a lot of outrage in response to the president's tweet. many felt it was insensitive to the victims of the blaze, while others noted that cutting funding seemed counter-intuitive to finding a solution.

"Imagine waking up in an evacuation shelter unsure if you've got a home to return to, only to see that your own president's response is not one of well wishes or empathy, but a threat," one person wrote.

"He's threatening to cut the funds used to fight the fires," added another. "How does that make anything better?"


Many on Twitter agreed that President Trump may be hoping to shift attention away from himself, as this week's news cycle was pretty unfavorable for him. After the Republican party lost the House of Representatives in the midterms, President Trump held a 90-minute press conference where he clashed with reporters. His administration even banned CNN's Jim Acosta from the White House, with his staff circulating a doctored video to justify their reasoning.

After the press conference, the president fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an apparent response to the Democrats' new power in the House. He replaced Sessions with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has publicly voiced contempt for the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling and has proposed ways to "protect the president" from prosecutors.