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OUR OPINION: Wildfires: Support and comfort today, debate tomorrow

OUR OPINION: Wildfires: Support and comfort today, debate tomorrow

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A proper time exists for every discussion. President Trump chose the wrong one - the middle of a battle against terrible wildfires - to launch criticisms about management of forests in California.

On Sunday, the president lashed out at Gov. Gavin Newsom for what he called "a terrible job of forest management." 

"... Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing - and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor," President Trump tweeted. He kept up his criticisms of Newsom's management of fires ("... he’s like a child, he doesn’t know what he’s doing") in comments to reporters later in the day.

President Trump might be right about Newsom and California, we don't know, but for him to imply he may cut federal aid for fires to the state this year because he's no fan of its Democratic governor is wrong. When disaster strikes a state, any state, the president must put politics aside and extend the hand of the federal government in support. Whoever the president is, he or she should comfort affected Americans in time of disasters, not threaten the state they call home.

When the fires in California have been extinguished and determinations have been made about what caused them to start and spread, a comprehensive discussion between the Trump administration and the Newsom administration about forest management and what steps can and should be taken to diminish the threat and severity of future wildfires (almost 60 percent of the state's forests are owned by the federal government, by the way) makes absolute sense.

While they are burning and damaging or destroying homes, businesses, and lives, however, the state, its residents and the heroic firefighters manning the front lines of this battle deserve more and better from their president than what they read and heard on Sunday.

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