Trump Admin Blocks Wildfire Aid for California, Then Reverses Course

The Trump administration rejected California’s request for emergency wildfire assistance on Thursday, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services confirmed. But by Friday afternoon, the administration had reversed course, approving the state’s relief application for six recent fires.

"Federal assistance is critical to support physical and economic recovery of California and its communities," the governor said before the walk-back Friday. "The longer it takes for California and its communities to recover, the more severe, devastating, and irreversible the economic impacts will be."

The administration’s rationale for initially refusing the application is not clear, but President Trump threatened to cut off federal assistance to California last year. Additionally, Miles Taylor — the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security under Trump who has now endorsed Joe Biden — previously claimed the president tried to withhold wildfire assistance from California because it's a blue state that voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Friday’s reversal came just days before the president’s scheduled visit to Orange County for a fundraiser.

Wildfires have burned over 4 million acres in the state this year, more than doubling the previous record.


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