September 21, 2020

Trump largely silent on historically devastating Western fires

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By Kevin Liptak | CNN

President Donald Trump has yet to offer any public statement of support amid historic wildfires spreading in the Pacific northwest and northern California — even though he vowed federal intervention in those states earlier this summer amid racial unrest.

Trump last weighed in on the devastating fires in California in the middle of August, when another round of blazes was burning north of the Bay Area. His familiar response was to blame the state’s forest management.

“They’re starting again in California,” he said at a rally. “I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up.”

He hasn’t weighed in on the more recent fires, which have spread to Washington and Oregon. He sent several tweets and retweets on Thursday morning but none about the fires.

Oregon’s Democratic governor has said there could be unparalleled devastation in her state, both in terms of property damage and deaths. More than 2.5 million acres have burned in California, a historic figure.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has freed up some federal funds for combating the blazes and Trump signed a disaster declaration for California in August, but he has yet to sign one for Oregon, whose governor said she sent in the request on Wednesday night. And he’s so far remained largely silent on the spreading fires.

That is hardly the same response Trump demonstrated after some protests turned violent in Portland and Seattle earlier this summer. The President dispatched federal law enforcement to Portland to protect a federal courthouse, leading to scenes of violent clashes and accusations of federal overreach. Federal officers were also dispatched to Seattle amid protests.

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In total, one person has died in the Portland unrest. So far, at least seven people have died in the wildfires and more deaths are expected.

“This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said Wednesday.

Trump has a history of dismissing wildfires and other natural disasters on the West Coast, where he does not enjoy widespread support. When he visited the site of a major fire in Butte County in 2018, he mistakenly called the town “Pleasure” instead of “Paradise.”

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Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

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