Trump Didn’t Order Halt to Federal Wildfire Relief Funds for California, FEMA Says
Despite President Trump’s assertions, he never ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pull disaster relief funding from California after the state’s deadliest wildfire season last year.
Setting the record straight, FEMA officials confirmed to BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that such an order was never issued. However, Trump tweeted last month his administration had canceled the federal assistance.
“We never got any such directive,” Brandi Richard, a FEMA spokesperson, told the news outlet. “That’s evidenced by the fact that work is still being done and we continue to support wildfire survivors across the state.”
A month after the wildfires in three counties, FEMA in December allocated an initial $180 million in grants and loans to assist recovery.
The president’s original tweet also placed blame on California over the deadly wildfires, claiming their cause was due to improper forest management. “Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires,” Trump wrote.
Scientists say climate change is actually to blame for the devastating, and worsening wildfires. According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, human-driven global warming is “drying forests and making them more susceptible to burning.”
Since the president took office in 2017, his administration has significantly rolled back a number of environmental protections directed at combatting climate change.
The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, further confirmed the president had not ordered a halt to disaster relief, according to BuzzFeed News. “We conducted a comprehensive search of files,” FEMA said. “Unfortunately, we were unable to locate or identify any responsive records.”
Fortune has reached out to FEMA for comment.