California

Angry elves and maskless macho: The world reacts to Trump and Newsom togetherness

‘Right now politics don’t matter:’ Trump visits Paradise in aftermath of the Camp Fire

President Donald Trump visited Paradise on Nov. 17, 2018. His visit was prompted by the unprecedented damage the fire caused.
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President Donald Trump visited Paradise on Nov. 17, 2018. His visit was prompted by the unprecedented damage the fire caused.

On Saturday, the President of the United States met for the first time with the governor and governor-elect of the most populous state — Donald Trump joined Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom to tour the devastation wrought by fires in Northern and Southern California.

Despite a testy Twitter relationship, Trump and Newsom showed comity as they surveyed the damage caused by the Camp Fire, in Butte County, and Woolsey Fire, in Ventura County. Trump even offered a glowing endorsement of Newsom’s incoming governorship.

Trump told the press pool that Newsom is “going to pick up the ball brilliantly. I have no doubt about it.”

Immediately, many remarked that Trump’s rhetoric in Newsom’s presence was a stark departure to the things he said about Newsom on Twitter, where he referred to California’s incoming governor as “a clown.”

Not everybody was enamored with the show of solidarity between Trump and Newsom. Songwriter Richard Marx tweeted that the meeting showed there is “no shortage of cowards on both sides of the aisle.

Writer and producer Scott Stenholm tweeted in response that this was “not the time to squabble when CA needs all the fed assistance we can get.”

Still others pointed out that, for all their political differences, Newsom and Trump have something in common -- Newsom’s ex-wife Kimberly Guilfoyle now dates Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

Some people on Twitter were upset not at Newsom and Trump sharing the stage, but at the message they sent by refusing to observe safety precautions for being in a wildfire zone.

And then, as is the way of Twitter, there were the jokes.

Trump’s unfounded claim that Finland is able to prevent forest fires by raking the forest floor was a ready source of comedy fodder, including from one Finn who tweeted a customized version of Trump’s signature red hat.

Others used jokes as a way to criticize Trump for not understanding how California wildfires work.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for McClatchy. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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