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Trump couldn't just express empathy for California fire victims. What's the matter with him?

Trump couldn't just express empathy for California fire victims. What's the matter with him?
President Trump takes part in a ceremony at the American cemetery of Suresnes, outside Paris, on Nov. 11. (Geoffroy van der Hasselt / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: President Trump’s first tweet about the California fires should have been: “We are saddened by the loss of life and property caused by California’s fires. Our thanks and admiration to the firefighters and others on the front lines of this tragedy. Your government will do everything it can to assist.”

Instead, it was: “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now or no more Fed payments!”

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As a UCLA Extension instructor on crisis management, I know that support and appreciation are imperative during a crisis; critiques and recommended improvements belong in after-action reports. Threats are never acceptable.

How sad that our president doesn’t know when to support and when to criticize. People and animals are dying; homes are going up in flames, and thousands of responders are working around the clock. Yet the president did not mention that at first.

Martin Cooper, Encino

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To the editor: I want to express my personal gratitude to our president for his expressed empathy to the many people who died and the hundreds of people who lost their homes because of the current California wildfires. I know that wasn’t the first thing he said about the fires, but it’s what the freely elected leaders of democracies do.

Please, someone in the White House get this message to the president quickly.

Dave Haberman, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: California is in yet another severely dry year. That is not because of forest mismanagement. This is a huge state with millions of acres of parched land.

If Trump is planning on visiting California to survey the damage, my message to him is, please don’t.


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It was reported that the utility Pacific Gas & Electric admitted to a problem with some of its power lines very close to where the Camp fire started in Butte County.

Trump’s threat to withhold federal funding once again shows his petty and intense dislike of California. Thousand Oaks suffered a horrendous mass shooting last week, and the next day it watched parts of its community burn.

Why doesn’t the president come out to California to see for himself how many sacrifices our communities have made to help one another?

Denise Gee, San Clemente

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To the editor: Trump dishonestly blames “mismanagement” of forests for the horrific California wildfires. If Trump is serious about saving federal money, he should also look at policies regarding land use in coastal areas vulnerable to floods.

Hurricanes often wreak havoc on low-lying areas. The federal government commits funds to rebuild in the same places that have just been devastated by these increasingly frequent and severe weather events. The exception is Puerto Rico.

California, politically, is the bluest of blue states. Hurricane-prone areas tend to be red politically. We need color-blind leadership.

Mark Benoit, Long Beach

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To the editor: If Trump is planning on visiting California to survey the damage, my message to him is, please don’t.

Not only does California not want Trump here, but he also has nothing in common with this great state except for owning a golf course in L.A. County that wastes much-needed water.

Robert B. Corsun, Sherman Oaks

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