On Twitter, Trump says he ordered his administration to withhold wildfire aid to the state of California. But did he really? FEMA Says He Never Did.
Although President Donald Trump tweeted that he had ordered his administration to cut off disaster aid to wildfire victims in California, federal officials confirmed that they never received any such directive.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is a government entity that helps survivors of national disasters recover. After seeing the tweet, they confirmed that they were never actually told to cut funding. “We never got any such directive,” Brandi Richard said a FEMA spokesperson. “That’s evidenced by the fact that work is still being done and we continue to support wildfire survivors across the state.”
“We conducted a comprehensive search of files,” FEMA said in a letter. “Unfortunately, we were unable to locate or identify any responsive records.”
Trump Blames California
Trump accused California of failing to properly manage its forests to prevent wildfires. “Billions of dollars are sent to the state of California for forest fires that, with proper forest management, would never happen,” the president tweeted last month. “Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!”
Trump has repeatedly blamed California’s devastating wildfires on state water policies and management of its drought-crippled wildlands, despite the fact that the federal government is responsible for 60% of the state’s forests and most of the recent blazes were urban-interface fires, meaning they consumed neighborhoods.
Recovering Without the President
FEMA is still on the ground in several damaged communities, trying to find housing for thousands of people who lost everything.
After the president’s tweet, which sparked widespread outrage, FEMA said several times that they had no plans to stop helping survivors, but it would not confirm whether it had received a directive to cut off financial aid.