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California’s firefighter union chief trashes Trump’s “cruel and dangerous” attacks on the state

California’s firefighter union chief trashes Trump’s “cruel and dangerous” attacks on the state

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The head of California Professional Firefighters (CPF) — the public employee union representing more than 30,000 firefighters across the state — has responded with any angry riposte to Donald Trump’s Sunday tweet blaming the state’s “terrible job of forest management” for the blazes that have ravaged the state in recent weeks.

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CPF President Brian Rice saw Trump’s tweet and described it as “ill-informed, cruel and dangerous” in a statement he issued on Tuesday.

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“Any suggestion that disaster assistance for fire victims and firefighting efforts could be withheld because of the state’s forest practices is ill-informed, cruel and dangerous,” Rice wrote in the statement.

“The most destructive fires currently burning in our state started within the wildland-urban interface, not our forests,” the statement continued. “It is in these areas where the risk, and the potential loss of life and property, are the greatest. Many of the victims of California’s wildfires live in smaller, rural communities. Any attempt to withhold disaster assistance would be especially devastating for the people living in communities our firefighters are risking their lives to protect.”

The head of the firefighters association also pointed out that Trump had ignored the federal government’s own responsibilities for the issue of forest management that the president blamed on California Governor Gavin Newsom, pointing out that, while proper maintenance can reduce fire risk, 60 percent of forest land in the state is under federal management.

“Yet the federal government has reduced support for forest management in California,” Rice reminded the president. “Instead of raking California over the coals, we’d encourage Washington to reverse this worrisome funding trend,” he admonished Trump.

This isn’t the first time that Rice has attacked the president’s ill-advised comments regarding California’s fire-prone environment and the state’s efforts to combat the disastrous infernos that break out when the arid “Diablo” winds rise and spread embers quickly over wide areas of dried-out vegetation.

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After Trump made his infamous remarks in the wake of the deadly Paradise fire last year about the necessity of “raking” the forest floors, Rice said that firefighters “and the communities in this state deserve an apology” from the president. In an interview with a local news station, Rice addressed Trump directly:

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“You’re an idiot,” Rice said, referring to the president. “And you should have never said that, and you should take the time before you speak. Words are very powerful.”

Those powerful words from Rice to Trump are appropriately firey given the situation and the president’s ignorant and politically-motivated vendetta against a state that he knows from which he has no chance of ever winning even a single electoral vote.

Considering that, along with police officers, firefighters are part of the blue-collar voting electorate that Trump sees as his base, the president’s alienation of the California firefighters and their union is not the smartest political move by Trump. Then again, intelligence is not something that this president is generally recognized as possessing an excess of.

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Original reporting by Sky Palma at RawStory.

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Vinnie Longobardo
Managing Editor
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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