Trump Changes Course, Approves California Relief for 6 Fires

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President Donald Trump's administration abruptly reversed course and approved California's application for disaster relief funds to clean up damage from six recent deadly and destructive blazes that have scorched the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — President Donald Trump's administration abruptly reversed course and approved California's application for disaster relief funds to clean up damage from six recent deadly and destructive blazes that have scorched the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.

"Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response," Newsom said in a brief statement.

Neither he nor the White House gave details on why the administration shifted positions only hours after it initially denied the state's request for a declaration that officials said could provide the state with hundreds of millions of dollars.

White House spokesman Judd Deere previously said California's request "was not supported by the relevant data" needed for approval and that Trump agreed with a recommendation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator to reject the declaration.

"The Governor and (GOP) Leader (Kevin) McCarthy spoke and presented a convincing case and additional on-the-ground perspective for reconsideration leading the President to approve the declaration," Deere said in a statement after Trump's change of heart.

McCarthy thanked Trump in a tweet for providing "the assistance needed to rebuild and repair," though his office did not respond to requests for more details on what changed.

Fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock said in a tweet that McCarthy told him "the President has committed to reverse FEMA's decision … and help is on the way."

Both congressmen represent areas harmed by wildfires.

The state had planned to appeal the denial and believed it had a strong case, Brian Ferguson, a spokesman with the governor's Office of Emergency Services,…
Associated Press
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