Trump blames wildfires on ‘gross mismanagement,’ threatens to withhold funds

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump blamed California's "poor" approach to forest management for the massive, deadly wildfires plaguing the state and threatened to withhold federal funding if it was not improved.

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," Trump wrote in a tweet published just after midnight Pacific Time Saturday.

"Millions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!"

The tweet comes as three major wildfires rage on both ends of the state, killing at least nine people and leveling entire towns. On Friday, Trump declared an emergency in the state of California and ordered federal assistance to supplement the local response.

The president of an organization representing firefighters across the state responded swiftly Saturday, calling the remarks "irresponsible, reckless and insulting."

Governor-elect Gavin Newsom was also quick to denounce Trump's comments, saying in part, "This is not a time for partisanship. This is a time for coordinating relief and response and lifting those in need up."

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