FACT CHECK: Did Trump Refuse To Provide California Aid To Fight The Wildfires?

Bradley Devlin | General Assignment & Analysis Reporter

A viral Facebook post shared over 23,000 times claims that President Donald Trump refused to give aid to California for fighting wildfires.

Verdict: False

Trump provided aid to the state of California to fight the wildfires across the state by approving a disaster declaration. The offer of aid to Russia occurred in 2019, not 2020.

Fact Check:

“Trump says No Aid for CA fires,” the post reads, “But in July he offered to help Putin with fires in Russia.”

While Trump has criticized California’s fire management strategies on Twitter, both the White House and Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom have confirmed the president has approved aid to help with the wildfires. In an Aug. 22 statement, the White House said, “President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of California and ordered Federal aid to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires.” (RELATED: Viral Post Claims There Are No Wildfires In Canada Or Mexico)

The statement went on to say the action “makes Federal funding available to affected individuals” and “assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”

“Federal funding is also available to State, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures in the counties of Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo,” it continued.

According to a statement released by Newsom’s office, Trump’s declaration “helps people in the impacted counties through eligibility for support including crisis counseling, housing and unemployment assistance and legal services. It also provides federal assistance to help state, tribal and local governments fund emergency response, recovery and protective measures.”

As of Sept. 25, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports over $8 million in financial assistance has been approved through the individual and housing assistance programs. The agency has also approved funding for firefighting equipment and supplies, among other things, for some of the fires, according to the FEMA website.

The post’s claim that Trump offered Russian President Vladimir Putin aid to help battle fires in Russia is outdated. The Russian government released a statement in July 2019, claiming that during a phone conversation between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump had offered help with Siberian wildfires.

“The US President offered help in putting out wildfires in Siberia,” the statement read. “The President of Russia expressed sincere gratitude for the kind attention and the offer of help and assistance. Vladimir Putin said he will accept the offer if it becomes necessary.”

Trump confirmed to reporters in August 2019 that he offered aid to Russia, saying, “We have the greatest equipment, if we could help you let us know. Large sections are burning, and so I said to President Putin, if we can help you, let me know.” Check Your Fact didn’t find any confirmation that the U.S. actually aided Russia in fighting the fires.

Bradley Devlin

General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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