By delaying federal aid for days while he partied at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump failed evacuees threatened by a failing spillway in Northern California's Oroville Dam complex. Some 188,000 people from counties that mostly supported him were evacuated when authorities said the risk of a sudden and dramatic overspill became too high, but Orange Julius remained silent for days after California governor Jerry Brown requested he declare a federal emergency in the state.
This winter has been one of the wettest in recorded west coast history, and has slammed California's aging infrastructure. While the welcome water has refilled reservoirs and left a massive snowpack, weather has also destroyed roads and left the State's second largest reservoir in real danger of a catastrophic collapse, flooding the Feather River and destroying thousands of homes in the waters' path. County officials made the difficult decision to evacuate around 188,000 residents on Sunday. Since then, conditions have improved, but not enough that it is safe to allow those evacuees to return home. More rain is expected on Wednesday.
Last Friday, Governor Brown asked Trump to declare a federal emergency. Evidently, POTUS was watching the situation closely on television, but it took him days to decide that California deserved any help. The minority-elected reality television star has stated his intentions to withhold funding from California as punishment for successful immigration policies that allow the world's sixth-largest (and growing) economy to prosper.
In other words, it looks like Trump took his time acknowledging the crisis out of personal spite.
Interestingly, the California counties most impacted by this disaster are some of the reddest in the Bear Republic. Many of the evacuees are Trump supporters, and they will pay the price of his vengeful policies. California will figure it out either way, but lets hope the Oroville Dam spillway doesn't fail.
Via the Sacramento Bee:
There is a certain irony to California needing the federal government's help after openly challenging so many of the policies coming out of Washington, D.C. Trump isn't happy with the state and more than a few of his supporters have pointed that out.
"Let the libtards drown," or some variation of that heartlessness, was actually a popular tweet on Sunday night. Seriously.
People in other states love to paint California with a broad liberal brush. But we Californians know better. We know that Oroville is squarely in the very red State of Jefferson.
Voters there, along with most of Butte, Yuba and Sutter counties, bought into Trump's plan to shrink and shake up the federal government and Make America Great Again. But, as it turns out, shrinking and shaking up the government comes with price, even for the loyal.
Not long after the November election, I wrote a column asking Trump supporters if they were feeling guilty about their vote for president. Most of the responses I got were a decisive "no," followed by a curt explanation that the president was just getting started, but he clearly was going to keep his campaign promises unlike normal politicians.
Lo and behold, those readers were right. Trump is keeping his campaign promises. But my guess is his supporters weren't counting on the president keeping all of his promises; just the ones they cherry-picked.
Take, for example, the hundreds of demonstrators who showed up at a town-hall meeting hosted by Rep. Tom McClintock earlier this month. The Republican-dominated district went for Trump, but constituents wanted McClintock to do more to save Obamacare, as well as reject the president's plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico and his ban on visitors from Muslim countries.
"What do you expect seniors and people with disabilities with low income to do if you take away our Medicare and Medicaid that we rely on to literally stay alive?" asked Amanda Barnes, who was paralyzed from her waist down after a hit-and-run accident in a crosswalk five years ago.
Or farmers in the Central Valley who voted for Trump, but are now uneasy with the administration's promised crackdown on undocumented immigrants, who work in their fields.
Last week, U.S. immigration agents conducted raids in several cities, including Los Angeles, nabbing people from their homes and their cars on their way to work. In a particularly troubling shift, agents picked up immigrants with no criminal record, capitalizing on a Trump executive order that substantially broadened the scope of whom immigration agents can target for deportation
"If you only have legal labor, certain parts of this industry and this region will not exist," Harold McClarty, a fourth-generation farmer in Kingsburg, told The New York Times. "If we sent all these people back, it would be a total disaster."
He's right to be worried. It's not like millions of Trump supporters on the other side of the country, the unemployed workers in the industrial Midwest, are about to take jobs picking fruit in 115-degree California heat.
So much for campaign talk being just talk.
Hopefully, the Trump supporters evacuated on Sunday and now crashing in hotel rooms, on friends' couches and in community centers won't get thrown under the bus, too. It's possible, though, which has got to hurt. #TrumpRegrets anyone?
PHOTO: FEB 13, 2017. 65,000 cfs of water flow through a damaged spillway on the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California. REUTERS/Max Whittaker