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Trump to Visit California After Criticism Over Silence on Wildfires

2020-09-13 01:45:13

Mr. Trump has long clashed with California. The state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, has filed multiple lawsuits against the Trump administration, on issues like immigration, health care and environment policy. For its part, the administration has never appeared to hold back in confronting the state, and the president last year publicly blamed Gov. Gavin Newsom of California for a succession of wildfires and power outages that battered the state.

Democratic lawmakers from California suggested Mr. Trump was uninterested in helping a blue state. “There’s a deep feeling that you get different treatment in this administration, in terms of speed and attention, based on how people have voted,” Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles said in an interview on Saturday. He credited the Federal Emergency Management Agency with coordinating closely with local officials but described the administration’s overall response as inconsistent.

“If someone calls my office for help, I don’t ask for their political affiliation or how their neighborhood voted,” Mr. Garcetti said. “It would be refreshing to have a president who thought the same way when people are losing their homes and everything they ever had. He doesn’t blame the Gulf Coast for hurricanes, but he blames California for not raking?”

White House officials said on Saturday that the president was actively engaged in addressing the crisis and had offered assistance to California and Oregon.

Answering questions from reporters on Friday, Mr. Newsom said that during a 30-minute phone call a day earlier devoted to the wildfires, the president had “reinforced his commitment to our effort.”

A White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said the president was closely monitoring the affected areas like California and had pledged federal relief, in addition to approving a disaster declaration. The administration has also deployed more than 26,000 federal personnel and 230 helicopters to the region, Mr. Deere said. A spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget did not respond to a request for a total figure of how much federal funding the administration has provided those states.

Just before the White House announced Mr. Trump’s plans to visit to California, Mr. Deere also defended the president’s decision to stay away from the affected areas, noting that a trip to survey the damage would divert resources from fighting the wildfires.


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