Washington, D.C. January 9, 2019 – Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva today said that President Trump’s announcement on Twitter this morning that he will instruct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to withhold any wildfire recovery money from the state of California until it changes its “Forrest Management” (sic) policies is a sign that Trump knows how to govern only by threats and cannot be treated as a rational actor at this point. Trump said in the tweet, which was subsequently deleted, that California would receive no more money “unless they get their act together, which is unlikely,” effectively holding devastated families across the state hostage to his unrelated forest policy demands.
“This president knows how to govern only through tantrums, demands and attempted intimidation, and the longer my Republican colleagues give him cover, the worse this is going to get,” Grijalva said today. “President Trump has already destroyed his administration’s credibility by claiming that climate change – which contributes to making these wildfires even more destructive – is a hoax. The president’s irrational climate denial will mean we need far more disaster relief, not less.”
Disaster relief funds provided through FEMA go to victims who have suffered catastrophic losses, in some cases almost everything they own. That funding is unrelated to any appropriations for managing forest land, much of which is owned and managed by the federal government.