Wildfires continue to decimate large sections of California, prompting the Trump administration to declare it a ‘major disaster’ on Sunday, a move that will open up federal funding and other aid to people displaced by the disaster.
At least eight people have died as firefighters battle 17 major fires burning throughout the state, one of which has shuttered Yosemite National Park according to CBS.
The disaster declaration by the White House was made after one wildfire, known as the Carr Fire, tore through Shasta County in northern California. It reportedly has forced over 40,000 people to evacuate, and killed one person, a Pacific Gas and Electric worker.
But even as the White House has taken action, Trump has himself has been silent on the devastation.
Over the past few days, the president has tweeted about the media, the Mueller investigation, Don Lemon, Lebron James, Democrats, including Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, tariffs, Iran, and the Ohio special election.
And while he did mention “fire extinguishers,” it was intended to be another shot at the media, which he considers ‘enemies of the American people’ — not about the valiant efforts of firefighters in California.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2018
Trump typically Tweets about disasters as a way of scoring political points. He often uses mass shootings or terrorist attacks to call for a ban on Muslims, funding for his wall, xenophobic anti-immigration policies — or as a way to malign the media, one of his preferred way to score political points with his base.
Climate change has caused extreme heat and droughts in California, which has contributed to the surge of wildfires in the area. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has been hostile to climate science and seemingly indifferent to wildfire prevention efforts.
The administration attempted to cut funding for scientists attempting to develop methods and technology that better predict, prepare and respond to wildfires, according to reporting by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
The Carr Fire has covered 154,000-acres of mountainous terrain in northern California — the sixth most destructive blaze in state history. As of Sunday morning, was 41 percent contained, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Two other wildfires, the Ranch and River fires have ripped through 255,000 acres in Mendocino County — located between San Francisco and Shasta County. They have reportedly destroyed 70 homes and threaten 15,000 structures, according to the news station ABC 10.
Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, said Saturday after touring some of the devastation that he was confident the Trump administration would provide the federal assistance, The Guardian wrote.
Late Sunday, after this article was posted, the president did, in fact, send a tweet about the California wildfires.
California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
The rambling, incoherent Twitter message made reference to “bad environmental laws” as a reason why the fires in California are being “magnified,” adding “must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”