Published: 17:51 BST, 12 September 2020 | Updated: 18:25 BST, 12 September 2020
President Donald Trump will visit California on Monday to be briefed on the wildfires there, capping off a weekend campaign swing on the West Coast with a visiting to the devastating blazes that have killed at least 29.
‘President @realDonaldTrump will visit California on Monday where he will be briefed on the state’s wildfires,’ White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere wrote Saturday on Twitter.
Trump leaves for Nevada on Saturday afternoon for two days of campaign events, where he’ll look to skid around coronavirus restrictions to hold rallies for his supporters.
More than 746,000 acres in California have burned, including the Bobcat Fire (above) in the woods in the Angeles National Forest north of Monrovia
Following that, he’ll visit McClellan Park in Sacramento County on Monday, which has served as a base for CALFire operations, Fox 11 in Los Angeles reported.
The White House has touted its support for the first responders and fire fighters in the state.
‘THANK YOU to the 28,000+ Firefighters and other First Responders who are battling wildfires across California, Oregon, and Washington. I have approved 37 Stafford Act Declarations, including Fire Management Grants to support their brave work. We are with them all the way!,’ Trump tweeted on Friday night.
President Trump visited California after the 2018 wildfires, touring the area with then-Governor Jerry Brown and then Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom.
It is unclear if Newsom will join the president for this trip. The two men do not get along but have spoke on the phone Friday about the roaring fires devastating the West Coast.
At least 20 have been killed in California, eight in Oregon and one in Washington state as thousands of firefighters struggle to bring the blazes under control. Four people have been arrested on arson charges.
‘We anticipate that number (of deaths) may potentially go up as we get back into areas that have been ravaged by flame and obviously, smoke begins to clear,’ warned Newsom, as he visited a scorched forest near the raging North Complex Fire on Friday.
The map above shows 103 fires that have already burned more than 3.4 million acres across the western United States
The August Complex Fire this week became by far the biggest recorded blaze in Californian history, ripping through 746,000 acres of dry vegetation in the state’s north, as multiple fires combined.
But it is just one of around 100 large fires on the West Coast, and other rapidly growing blazes closer to populated areas have proven deadlier.
Ahead of his California visit, Trump will be in Nevada, where he’ll go head-to-head with state officials by holding public events after they canceled his plans for rallies in Reno and Las Vegas because of coronavirus restrictions.
Democratic rival Joe Biden leads in Nevada by four points, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average of the state but Trump campaign officials are looking to move it to his column even though a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won Nevada since 2004.
Trump has criticized Nevada officials for passing a law to make mail-in voting easier there in response to the COVID pandemic – a battle cry he is likely to take up in speeches this weekend.
He planned to host rallies in airport hangars in Reno and Las Vegas – as he has held rallies in airports in other states – Nevada officials squashed his plans, citing COVID restrictions.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, issued a directive in May limiting gatherings to 50 people or fewer.
‘This has nothing to do with politics. The letter we sent is about directives and safety and not political campaigns,’ Daren Griffin, president and CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, said in a statement earlier this week. ‘We would hold our tenants to the same standard whether it was a Democratic or Republican rally or any other type of gathering. We are complying with the Governor’s directive and Washoe County’s recommendation during a pandemic.’
On Sunday, he’ll host a ‘Latinos for Trump’ roundtable, attend a fundraiser and having an evening rally in nearby Henderson at a manufacturing plant.
If Trump can move Nevada to his column, its six electoral votes could help him make up a loss from another state, such as Arizona, where he’ll stop on Monday.
Arizona, a typically red state that has seen Biden leading in the polls, sparking GOP fears the former vice president could carry it in November.
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