Ex-Trump insider is aghast the president finally followed through on his dangerous political threat
President Donald Trump's Democratic critics have often accused of him being indifferent to the needs of blue states. In yet more evidence for this view, the president's administration has rejected California's request for a disaster declaration in response to a series of destructive wildfires, CNN reported this week.
Miles Taylor, a conservative and former Department of Homeland Security official who is supporting former Vice President Joe Biden, is expressing shock that Trump made good on his threat to reject California's request for disaster assistance. But as he explained, he already warned that Trump sought to do this.
On Friday, Taylor tweeted, "Wow — just like the last time @realDonaldTrump told us to cut off disaster aid $ to California for political purposes. Only then, we told him NO."
Taylor served in DHS from 2017-2019 and was chief of staff for former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and later, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. Although Taylor is a right-wing Republican, he has come out strongly against Trump and in favor of Biden. In August, Taylor was featured in a scathing anti-Trump ad from the group Republican Voters Against Trump. Elizabeth Neumann, a conservative who formerly served as assistant secretary for threat prevention in DHS, has also appeared in an anti-Trump ad for RVAT and is endorsing Biden. He had explained in one ad that Trump had suggested cutting off aid to California because the state didn't support him, an idea that DHS reportedly rejected at the time.
Although California, with its warm and arid climate, has long been vulnerable to wildfires, this year has been especially bad. And Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom requested financial aid for his state in a letter sent to Trump's administration on September 28. Newsom, in his letter, estimated that infrastructure damage in California would exceed $229 million and warned, "The longer it takes for California and its communities to recover, the more severe, devastating and irreversible the economic impacts will be."
Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in California, confirmed to CNN that Newsom's request had been rejected, saying, "The request for a major presidential disaster declaration for early September fires has been denied by the federal administration."