‘This could have been a lot different’: Trump DOUBLES DOWN on blaming forest management for California wildfires before heading west ‘to be with the firefighters’, as more than one thousand people are feared missing and death toll hits 74

Saturday, November 17, 2018
By Paul Martin

At least 74 people have died in the California wildfires – 13 of whom are yet to be identified
A further 1,011 people are still missing in and around Paradise in Northern California
Recovery teams with cadaver dogs carried away deceased victims in body bags on Friday
Trump said some bodies were ‘burned beyond recognition’ ahead of his Saturday visit to Paradise
President will make two stops in California and meet with the governor and first responders
He may not receive a warm welcome after he angered Californians by blaming fire on forest mismanagement
He’s expected to land around 2pm EST (11am PST) and says ‘we’ll be coming back here at four in the morning’
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea published the list of the missing online saying it ‘could contain duplicate names and unreliable spellings of names’
The sheriff asked relatives of the missing to submit DNA samples to hasten identification, but said some of the dead may never be conclusively found
The number of names on the missing list swelled by more than 400 since Thursday night

17 November 2018

Donald Trump is fanning the flames of California wildfire controversy as he blames the deadly blazes that have killed 74 on poor forest management yet again, re-igniting fury among West Coast residents and firefighters just hours before he’s set to touch down in the state.

The president spoke to press first thing in the morning from the South Lawn before taking off for the Northern California where he’ll be making two stops and will speak with first responders, FEMA representatives, California governor Jerry Brown and governor elect Gavin Newsom.

‘It seems many more people are missing than anyone thought even possible. And I want to be with the firefighters and the FEMA and first responders,’ Trump said prior to takeoff. He’s expected to land around 2pm Eastern time (11am Pacific time) and said he’ll likely return to the White House around 4am Eastern time.

‘We have a lot of things to talk about. We will be talking about forest management. I’ve been saying that for a long time. This could have been a lot different situation…Very expensive issue but very inexpensive when you compare it to even one of these horrible fires and will save lots of lives in addition to a lot of money,’ he said.

However, he commended the team of more than 9,000 ‘unbelievably brave’ firefighters on the scene.

Trump has been heavily criticized for blaming the fires on the ‘gross mismanagement’ of forests before sharing condolences for wildfire victims. He even threatened to cut off unspecified federal aid to California if they don’t take action.

His financial threat sparked outrage and he subsequently approved a federal disaster declaration to send aid to the smoldering state.

His controversial comments have won him the support of national logging organizations as well as heat from environmentalists who say the president’s attack is a back-handed effort to help logging companies clear-cut forests.

Officials announced that the death toll in California has reached 74 and the number of people missing has mounted from 631 on Thursday night to 1,011 on Friday, making the fire one of the most lethal blazes in the U.S.

Trump will only be in California for a day but may have an unwelcome reception in the charred state.

Some firefighters tirelessly tackling the flames on 24-hour shifts say that Trump’s visit is a sign of support for first responders, ‘no matter what you think about him’, according to firefighter Joshua Watson.

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