On the last day of July, Hurricane Isaias began to hit North Carolina's Outer Banks. For the next three days the storm came inland, and while it did not bring the devastating winds or feet of rain created by some of the larger storms along the Gulf, it hit an area that was much less prepared for large storms. Over the next week, the remains of Isaias continued north, causing over $ 1 billion in damage from Virginia to New England. Four deaths were directly attributed to the storm, and highways, bridges, and utilities across North Carolina were damaged.
North Carolina Democratic Governor Roy Cooper waited for the storm's damage to be determined before asking Trump for a disaster statement. Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom made inquiries about some of the first major fires of the season. As a result, both applications were on Trump's desk just four days apart in September. But on Tuesday night, Trump approved the North Carolina disaster declaration. On Thursday he refused to give California federal aid.
There are a number of reasons Trump might have turned down California. Neither of them are a good reason, but there are very Trump reasons. After all, he continued to downplay the threat of climate change and called the whole idea a "joke". He has also repeatedly blamed California for the fires, argued with Newsom and other officials, and spoke about the need to "sweep the forest floor" because Trump's understanding of nature is that it is just another golf course. During a visit to California just before Newsom submitted his request, Trump blamed exploding trees for the fires and then explained how Europeans manage to build “forest cities” despite having trees that are even more explosive. With a lot of sweeping.
Trump could easily have decided to refuse funds to California just because he wants the state to be violated. After all, it is so important to Trump to blame the blue state governors for problems that he deliberately let 220,000 Americans die in the hopes he could impose it on Democratic officials.
The simplest explanation, however, is this: Trump lost California by 30% to Hillary Clinton. Again … by 30%. And he's almost identically behind Joe Biden in the state. In North Carolina, Trump won by four points in 2016, but recent polls have left him behind. Also, the announcement that he would be providing federal funding to North Carolina came less than a day before Trump showed up for a rally at the Greenville, North Carolina airport. This was Trump's fifth visit to North Carolina in the past six weeks.
Would Donald Trump hand over millions to a state where he was losing in a desperate ploy to get votes? Sorry … that wasn't a serious question. In other news this week, Trump sent record subsidies to farmers in the Midwest and South. The $ 434 billion makes disaster relief for North Carolina seem like a trifle. But then … Biden took a lead in both Iowa and Georgia, while catching up with Trump in Ohio. This is what Trump thinks is a real disaster.
The reason farmers are suffering, of course, is largely due to Trump's trade policies, which have resulted in record losses, record debt and record foreclosures on farms. But … Trump probably blames exploding tractors.