President Donald Trump approved California's request for a Major Disaster Declaration, which will send federal aid to the state, which is now battling three major wildfires.
"I just approved an expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California. Wanted to respond quickly in order to alleviate some of the incredible suffering going on. I am with you all the way. God Bless all of the victims and families affected," Trump tweeted Monday night.
Trump also tweeted praise for firefighters early Monday, writing, "The California Fire Fighters, FEMA and First Responders are amazing and very brave. Thank you and God Bless you all!"
I just approved an expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California. Wanted to respond quickly in order to alleviate some of the incredible suffering going on. I am with you all the way. God Bless all of the victims and families affected.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
This message was in stark contrast to Trump's first reaction to the fires on Saturday, in which he said he was considering withholding federal funds because of "gross mismanagement."
"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," Trump wrote.
The tweet was met with criticism from Californians, celebrities and firefighters and state officials, including California Gov. Jerry Brown. On Sunday, the outgoing governor put the blame on climate change.
“This is not the new normal,” Brown said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “This is the new abnormal, and this new abnormal will continue certainly in the next 10 to 15 years.”
"The firefighters and the communities in this state deserve an apology," Brian Rice, president of the California Professional Firefighters union, said Sunday, reports NBC News.
Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby called Trump's first response to the fires "very hurtful" to first responders.
"We don't control the climate," Osby said, reports CBS News. "We're doing all that we can to prevent incidents and mitigate incidents and save lives. I personally find that statement unsatisfactory, and it's very hurtful for all first responders that are putting their lives on the line to protect lives and property."
There are three major wildfires burning in California, including the Camp Fire in Northern California. According to CBS News, the Camp Fire is now considered the deadliest fire in California's history, leaving 44 people dead and burning more than 6,400 structures. It has scorched 117,000 acres and about 228 people are still missing. It is 30 percent contained, according to officials.0comments
The Woolsey Fire is burning in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties in Southern California, and has burned 93,662 acres. It is 30 percent contained and is linked to two deaths. Three firefighters have been injured.
The Hill Fire is also burning in Ventura Country and has burned 4,531 acres. It is 85 percent contained.
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