Update: An earlier version of this article stated that only one of California's Congressional Republicans joined with Democrats in signing a letter to President Trump asking for disaster aid for the fire victims. The article has been updated to include a separate letter signed by Congressman Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa, both San Diego Republicans, asking Trump for the disaster aid.
By Miriam Raftery
November 23, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Just in time for Thanksgiving, President Donald Trump’s White House sent Congress a skimpy disaster relief funding request that includes not one penny for survivors of the worst wildfires in California history, those that ravaged the wine region and other areas recently. The measure provided only bare-bones funding for states that suffered hurricane damage.
A a letter sent to Trump asking for $7.4 billion in federal disaster aid for these fire victims was signed by California’s Governor, Democrat Congressional members and Senators.Of our state’s 14 Republicans, 13 refused to sign.
However some Republicans signed a separate letter of their own, including San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa, asking the President for disaster relief to aid fire survivors. See their letter.
Asked if Rep. Hunter plans to take any additional actions to persuade the President and Congress to fund relief for California fire victims, Hunter's district Chief of Staff and Communications Director Mike Harrison, replied, "Congressman Hunter has, and will continue to, advocate for the needs of our community and his district at every opportunity."
The fires killed 42 people, burned 8,900 of structures and charred 245,000 acres-- the equivalent in size of San Francisco, Sacramento and several other counties combined. The devastation far surpassed even the Cedar Fire and 2007 firestorms in San Diego County, which until recently were the worst in our state’s history.
President Trump's snub of disaster victims is unprecedented in American history, leaving victims of California’s worst natural disaster to fend for themselves.
No reason for the denial of funding by the President was given. But Mother Jones magazine suggests a political motive. The “red” states such as Florida and Texas that got hurricane relief funds voted for Trump. “Blue” California did not.
It’s a dangerous precedent to base disaster relief on partisan politics.
It’s also a betrayal of the many Republicans and others in California who did vote for Trump, even though the state’s electoral college votes went for his rival, Hillary Clinton.