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President Trump to visit Sacramento on Monday for briefing on California wildfires


President Donald Trump will visit Sacramento County on Monday to be briefed on the deadly wildfires that have charred more than 3 million acres across the state, the White House said on Saturday.

The visit will include local and federal fire officials responsible for battling the wildfires, said Judd Deere, a White House deputy press secretary.

“The President continues to support those who are battling raging wildfires in a locally-executed, state-managed, and federally-supported emergency response,” Deere said in a statement.

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A California official confirmed to The Sacramento Bee that the briefing will be held in McClellan Park, a former Air Force base turned business park that is used by Cal Fire to organize wildfire response efforts. McClellan Airport often launches Cal Fire tankers loaded with fire retardant across the state.

Although the president often criticizes California’s wildfire response efforts and the forest management tactics, Gov. Gavin Newsom has reiterated Trump’s commitment to helping the state behind the scenes.

“There’s not phone call that I have made to the president where he hasn’t quickly responded,” the Democratic governor said last month. “He may make statements publicly, but the working relationship privately is an effective one.”

While touring scenes of destruction near Oroville Friday, Newsom said he had spoken to the president for 30 minutes on Thursday to discuss the fires.

Last month, Trump declared California’s wildfires a major disaster, promising aid for victims displaced by fires since Aug. 14.

Six of the wildfires currently raging are among the largest in state history. Twelve people have been reported killed in the North Complex Fire, burning in Butte and surrounding counties. Many others are left homeless, with at least 2,000 structures destroyed by the 252,000-acre blaze. The Creek Fire, burning in the Sierra National Forest near Fresno, has destroyed at least 369 structures, including many homes, and has consumed 196,000 acres in flames.

Trump previously visited a fire-stricken California in November 2018 in the wake of the Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest wildfire yet, to meet with Newsom, then governor-elect; then-Gov. Jerry Brown and fire management officials.

During that visit, Trump made his infamous allusion to the “forest nation” of Finland, which he praised for spending “a lot of time raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem.” Prior to his trip, the president blamed California’s wildfires on mismanagement of state forests.

His fiery rhetoric has remained consistent. Just last month, Trump threatened to withhold federal emergency funds from California if better care was not taken in maintaining forests.

“I see again the forest fires are starting,” He said at a Pennsylvania rally on Aug. 20. “They’re starting again in California. I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up.”

Sacramento-area Democrats were planning on protesting the Republican president’s appearance at McClellan Park. The Democratic Party of Sacramento County scheduled a demonstration at the business park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Join us at the gates of McClellan Park as Sacramento stands united in saying NO to Donald Trump,” organizers wrote on an event page. “Bring your homemade signs, bring your mask, bring your friends.”

The Bee’s Dale Kasler contributed to this story.

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