President of California Firefighters Union calls Donald Trump 'an idiot' for his harsh tweet

Jaimie-lee Prince
Nov 14, 2018
11:51 A.M.

President Donald Trump responded quickly to the raging California fires. Now, he is being widely condemned for his partisanship.


According to the Inquisitr, not only did the President's tweet show inaccuracy, but it was also insensitive to the people affected.

Trump had just approved funding to send federal funds to assist the firefighters. Yet he blamed the "deadly and costly forest fires" on poor "forest management."

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Trump said:

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. 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!”


In actuality, the fires did not result from forests, much less from forest mismanagement. The latter is also arguably not an issue.

Scott Austin, the president of the Pasadena Firefighters Association, tweeted a response:


"Will all due respect, you are wrong. The fires in So. Cal are urban interface fires and have NOTHING to do with forest management."

He encouraged the President to "come to SoCal and learn the facts and help the victims."


The Los Angeles Times further explained the nature of the fires:

"Forest thinning would not have stopped the Camp or the Tubbs. Fueled by dry grass growing amid scattered pine and oak trees, the Camp tore across land thinned by flames just 10 years ago. The Tubbs burned grassy oak woodlands, not timberland."



The President of the California Firefighters Union, Brian Rice, spoke to NBC News about Trump's threatening Tweet.

When prompted by a reporter, Rice responded to Trump saying:

"You're an idiot. And you should never have said that, and you should take the time before you speak. Words are very powerful."

He proposed that the focus should be on those risking their lives:

“Our members are on the front lines, risking their lives, as we expect them to. And the least we could expect from our leaders at not only the state level, which we get, but certainly at a national level. We don’t need a pat on the back, but acknowledge the state — the state of California is going through hell right now, literally.”


Rice further explained Trump's uninformed speech:

“The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong. Nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.”



Prior to the interview, Rice told Trump that after his tweet, "the communities in this state deserve an apology." Trump did address the situation in a seemingly more empathetic tone later on.

He said "Our hearts are with those fighting the fires" the evacuees and the families of those who died.

But instead of apologizing, on Sunday the President again lashed out on Twitter. He said "with proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart."



Many might advise the President to take his own advice. Based on an e-mail from J. Keith Gilless, a professor of forest economics and the chair of the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, Trump "is at best uninformed" about the fires.

He said that despite California's leadership in science-based forest management practices on private land, they can't do much about "wind speed, temperature, relative humidity, or drought cycles."



So far, the deadly fires have caused 31 deaths in California. Over 196,000 have been burned, 6,435 homes and 260 commercial buildings were destroyed. The Camp Fire has reportedly done the worst damage.

In terms of progress, 25 percent of the Camp Fire, 15 percent of the Woolsey Fire, and about 70 percent of the Hill Fire has been contained.

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