Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Sunday urged an end to partisanship in deciding which states get disaster aid as California and the rest of the West Coast reel from devastating wildfires.
“Whether it’s twin hurricanes on the Gulf Coast or fires here on the West Coast. We’re one nation. And, sometimes looking at the leadership that comes out, it’s easy to forget that,” Garcetti said on CNN’s “State of the Union” ahead of a planned visit to California Monday by President Donald Trump.
“It’s taken three weeks. I’m glad he’s coming, but we need much more help,” the Democratic mayor went on. “When we have firefighters dying on the line and Washington refuses to help states and refuses to help local governments that are the first responders to emergencies like this, it’s unconscionable.”
Pressed by CNN host Jake Tapper on what specifically the president could be doing, given that he declared an emergency in California three weeks ago, Garcetti said there was a “refusal in blaming blue states over red states.” The president, who is on a three-day campaign tour of the West, is scheduled to meet with local and federal officials near Sacramento on Monday to assess the vast wildfire damage.
“Instead of hitting the golf course or going on vacation, the president and Congress respectively should sit down and make sure there is assistance for these brave men and women who are protecting our lives and our property,” Garcetti added.
Trump has repeatedly attacked Democratic elected officials in California over the fires, similar to how he criticized their management of previous years’ blazes. He has accused leaders of insufficiently raking dead forestry, something Garcetti nodded to on Sunday.
“He is going to come out here and probably tell us, ‘I’m going to send you rakes instead of more help,’” Garcetti said on CNN. “We need actual help, material help, not based on our party affiliation or how we voted.”
The wildfire crisis is not the only case of Trump appearing to factor politics into his emergency assistance decision-making.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic he has lambasted Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state was the main epicenter of the outbreak in the spring, and has also gone after Democratic Govs. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who was being considered by Joe Biden as a vice presidential candidate, and Jay Inslee of Washington state, who had a short-lived bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.