Just last week California Gov. Gavin Newsom lauded President Donald Trump as a “partner” in California’s efforts to fight wildfires.
“Every request we made of the Trump administration has been granted, and I just want to thank them again for moving expeditiously as they have to support our efforts here,” Newsom said Wednesday.
That was then, this is now.
“We’re successfully waging war against thousands of fires started across the state in the last few weeks due to extreme weather created by climate change while Trump is conducting a full on assault against the antidotes,” Newsom said Sunday.
What changed appears to be a series of tweets spewed earlier Sunday by the president, kicked off with this: “The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management. I told him from the first day we met that he must ‘clean’ his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him.”
Trump went on to lambaste California and Newsom for continually reaching out to Washington for aid to combat the fires.
“No more,” Trump tweeted. “Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states.”
Newsom responded dismissively on Twitter that Trump doesn’t believe in climate change and this is “excused from this conversation.” Newsom’s office then issued a lengthy statement detailing the state’s efforts at fire prevention.
The statement noted that the federal government owns 57 percent of California’s forestlands, with most of the rest owned privately. It added that California has increased its investment in hazardous fuels reduction, tripled the land actively managed through vegetation thinning, and streamlined permitting for vegetation management on private lands.
The U.S. Forest Service, however, twice reduced it forest management targets in the state this year, the statement said.
‘No more’: Trump says he’ll cut off federal funds to fight California wildfires
In recent weeks, strong winds combined with drought-like conditions across much of the state to fuel a series of wildfires that have burned hundreds of square miles, forced evacuations of hundreds of thousands of people and triggered preemptive power outages to hundreds of thousands more.
The latest round of fires began raging just days after Newsom signed wide-ranging legislation that aimed at improving California’s wildfire prevention, mitigation and response efforts. Newsom has also pledged to ensure that the state’s utilities better manage the outages they put in place to lessen the risk of sparking a blaze.
Some California Democrats leaped to Newsom’s defense. Sen. Kamala Harris, who is seeking the party’s presidential nomination, also took a shot at Trump.
“Raking leaves is as effective at combatting the climate crisis as your phone’s spellcheck is at fixing your tweets,” Harris tweeted. “@GavinNewsom is doing his job. Maybe you should try it.”
Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted this: “Dear @realDonaldTrump: You are the President for all Americans. Act like it. When a child’s house burns down, the party registration of her parents doesn’t matter. Mother nature does not discriminate based on ideology when she strikes with fires or floods or hurricanes. Get it?”