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Congressman Panetta, 44 California Members Condemn President Trump's Language on California Wildfires

January 9, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) and 44 other Members of the California delegation slammed President Donald Trump’s false and defamatory statements on Twitter about the California wildfires.  They were joined by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03).  Calling the President’s language appalling, the Members corrected the record regarding federal government oversight of California forests and demanded he restore federal support to those recovering from wildfires.  Full text of the letter is below.  

January 9, 2019

President Donald J. Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Mr. President:

We are writing in response to the cruel and dishonest statement you issued today regarding wildfires in California.

According to your statement, posted on Twitter, you intend to withhold disaster assistance funding from California communities struggling to recover from wildfires until changes are made to state-level forest management policies.

The casual cruelty of this threat is appalling. Thousands of people have lost everything: family members, homes, property, lives. These families deserve empathy and support from their President. Instead, you issued a callous and unfeeling threat to make a political point.

Your statement was also dishonest. The federal government oversees almost 60 percent of forestland in California, and several of the costliest, largest or deadliest fires in history – including last year’s Camp and Carr Fires – ignited on federal land. The federal government is responsible for these lands, not the State of California, and blaming these fires on state-level forest management is utterly false.

We urge you to retract your misleading statement. We also request, in the strongest possible terms, that you immediately restore federal support to Americans recovering from wildfires.