PRESIDENT Donald Trump has threatened to cut off federal aid to California, home to the biggest population of Filipinos in the United States.

Almost 100,000 acres of wildfires have been raging across the state since the last week of October alone, beginning with the Kincaid fire in Northern California.

As the Independent reported, “more than 198,000 acres of land has been destroyed across the region this year, with fires forcing people to flee their homes as 115 structures are razed to the ground in the last ten days alone.”

Three people have died and dozens have been injured in the 6,190 fires in 2019.

California has recently been seeing consistently destructive fires more often than ever before, wildfires are burning longer and harder to control. From October to December, it is still expected to have the greatest fire potential as the Diablo winds and the Santa Ana winds pick up.

Climate scientists and fire behavioral experts have warned that heavy rains from months early in the year have produced an excess of vegetation. As the LA Times reported, this would lead to a lot of fuel that would become an abundance of dry fuel later in the year as the fire season gets underway.

According to the U.S. Forest Service and Interior Department officials in a report by CNN, early projections indicated that the fire season would possibly be worse than the previous year.

Amid this ominous threat, Trump chose to berate and pick a fight with California Governor Gavin Newsom, asking the Democratic public official on twitter to “get his act together.”

In a barrage of attacks on Twitter against the largely liberal state, The Independent reported that Trump would again hammer on his old complaints of forest management, including recommending better cleaning of the forest floors, as he first did in 2018.

Highlighting the role of the environmental crisis in spreading the fires, Newsom responded on Twitter by saying, ”You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.”

Trump has been a climate change denier, and has, in fact, formally told the United Nations on Monday, November 4, that the United States is pulling out of the Paris climate accord, a deal that was signed by President Barack Obama. The notice filed by the U.S. claimed the 2015 deal signed by 200 countries placed an “unfair economic burden” on the U.S. economy.

BUT WAIT! Did you know that Trump offered Putin help with Siberian wildfires? Reuters reported on July 31, 2019: “The U.S. president offered Russia cooperation in fighting forest fires in Siberia,” the Kremlin statement said.

“President Putin expressed his sincere gratitude for such an attentive attitude and for the offer of help and support.”

Think about this. California is the BIGGEST TAXPAYER among all the states of our nation, the richest state in the country and the 5th biggest economy in the world.

California is also among the states whose residents and public officials stand up to Trump and his pro-rich, pro-fossil fuel, pro-gun and anti-climate change, anti-immigrant policies and his defiance of the Constitution and the rule of law.

Russia, on the other hand, has assaulted our democracy, interfered in our elections and democratic processes and institutions to help Trump win. And yet Trump is so subservient and meek as a lamb to Putin, making decisions and orders that benefit Russia’s interests more than the American people.

Digest this for a while. Tell me if you don’t see anything wrong with this picture. Tell me if you support and enable this politically and personal-interest motivated policy and action of this president.

If you don’t, then speak up and call him out. This is our nation, our world, our planet. We have to fight for it, even if and especially if the threat is coming from the President of the United States.

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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at [email protected], or send her a message via Facebook at

Gel Santos Relos
Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to and

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