(Watch the video, it’s only 2:18 minutes.)
WILLITS, 10/17/18 — During impromptu remarks delivered at a cabinet meeting today, President Trump lashed out at California over the recent wildfires and threaten to cut funding for fighting wildfires, saying, “You’d better get your act together, because California — we’re just not going to continue to pay the kind of money that we’re paying…”
In the statement Trump called California a “mess” and said that, “There’s no reason for those fires to be like they are.” He added that, “California ought to get their act together and clean up their forests.” He also claimed that governors of other states — which states he wouldn’t say — have told him “there’s no reason for forest fires like that in California.” Trump went on to blame incompetence and environmentalists for the problems.
One quick fact-check — in the video Trump claims that hundreds of billions have been spent on California’s fires, when in fact total federal expenditures on wildfire fighting, across the entire United States, amounted to less than $3 billion in 2017. Figures for 2018 are not yet official, because of course the year is not over.
In recent months federal money has been central to fighting wildfires on the North Coast. Though in the early days both the River Fire and the Ranch Fire were fought primarily by local departments and Cal Fire, the Ranch Fire eventually spread far enough into the federally controlled Mendocino National Forest, that the much of the fight was carried out by firefighters from the federal forest service.
Other wildfire prone states were not singled out in his remarks.