Donald Trump is threatening to cut off federal money to aid California’s deadly wildfires, claiming the money is being wasted.
In a tweet, the US President announced he has already ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to withhold funding for the state unless it takes measures to improve forest management.
“Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forrest fires that, with proper Forrest Management, would never happen,” Mr Trump tweeted Wednesday morning, local time. “Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!”
He misspelled the word “Forrest,” later tweeting the same message with the correct spelling of “forest”.
Critics on social media questioned whether Mr Trump could legally withhold FEMA money that has already been appropriated.
This isn’t the first time the US President has lashed out at California for its handling of the destructive wildfires. In November, he blamed wildfires across the state on “gross mismanagement” and threatened to stop federal payments unless officials addressed their strategy.
State officials and local firefighters have accused Mr Trump of not understanding the issues involved in fighting fires, adding that climate change has worsened the impact of the natural disasters.
Mr Trump’s latest funding threat comes as he continues to face criticism over the ongoing partial government shutdown, which affects some of FEMA’s operations. The shutdown has so far lasted 19 days, and counting.
The Northern California wildfire of 2018 killed at least 85 people and destroyed thousands of buildings across the state, obliterating the entire town of Paradise.
The natural disaster was the deadliest, most destructive wildfire in California history, leaving an overall damage cost of $23 billion, according to German insurance company Munich Re.