WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he is cutting off federal money to fight California wildfires, claiming the money is being wasted.
"Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forrest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen," Trump tweeted. "Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, replied, saying Trump's "threat insults the memory of scores of Americans who perished in wildfires last year & thousands more who lost their homes."
Pelosi said House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, another Californian, "must join me to condemn & call on POTUS to reassure millions in CA that our govt will be there for them in their time of need."
It's unclear whether Trump has already ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cut off money for California fires or is threatening to do so as he has in the past.
Critics on Twitter questioned whether Trump could legally withhold FEMA money that has already been appropriated.
State officials have accused Trump of playing politics with the California wildfires, and said he does not understand the issues involved in fighting fires.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has criticized Trump over firefighting policy, tweeted after the president's shutdown speech on Tuesday that "Trump's go-to is governing by fear and division."
On Tuesday, the newly inaugurated Newsom proposed $105 million in new spending to prevent, fight and escape wildfires in the wake of one of the state's worst fire seasons.
Trump's declaration comes as he takes political heat over the ongoing partial government shutdown, which affects some of FEMA's operations.
In an initial post, the president misspelled the word "Forrest," He later tweeted the same message with the correct spelling of "forest."
Trump has been known to suddenly declare sudden policy decisions, only to change or modify them in subsequent days. Examples include the now-slowed-down withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.