Gov. Brown: Trump has ‘got our back’ after California wildfires

President Donald Trump, who previously had threatened to cut federal funding to California, promised “substantial” funds in the wake of the horrific fires that have swept the state, Gov. Jerry Brown said Sunday.

Brown, speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, called Trump’s pledge a “big, big win” for his state.

“The president not only has signed a presidential declaration giving California substantial funding, but he said and pledged very specifically to continue to help us,” Brown said, “that he’s got our back. And I thought that was a very positive thing.”

Brown spoke a day after Trump visited the burned-out remains of Paradise, until recently a city of 27,000 that was essentially destroyed when a wildfire roared through two weeks ago. The Camp Fire has killed 76 people and destroyed almost 10,000 homes in the area.

The fire, which has burned 235 square miles, was 60 percent contained Sunday, Cal Fire reported. More than 1,000 people have been reported missing.

“Right now, we want to take care of the people who have been so badly hurt,” Trump said as he toured some of the devastation Saturday. “This is very sad to see.”

Brown, a Democrat frequently at odds with the president, acknowledged Sunday that there has been some contentious “back and forth” between Trump and California leaders in the past.

“But in this, in the face of tragedy, people tend to rise above some of their lesser propensities,” Brown said. “So I think we’re on a good path.”

Days after the Camp Fire began burning, Trump tweeted a threat to withhold federal payments to California, accusing the state of “poor” forest management.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly fires in California,” Trump tweeted. “Billions 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!”

Brown said Sunday that long-term forest health will require reducing carbon emissions. He said he did not press Trump on the argument that climate change is a crucial factor in the rise in more deadly and destructive fires the state has been combating in recent years.

“You can mull the science, but I’ll tell you every year it’s going to get clearer and clearer,” Brown said. “I think in less than five years even the worst skeptics are going to be believers.”

He said the Camp Fire was moving at 100 yards a second, trapping residents with no chance to flee.

“If you’re going to live this close to the forest, if the climate is going to keep changing, you’re going to have to build some kind of underground shelters,” Brown said. “So that you can go in and protect yourself.”

Read more at USA Today.

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