President Donald Trump announced to the world via Twitter in January that he instructed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to withhold disaster relief funds from California until “they get their act together.”
But it turns out that Trump did no such thing.
According to Buzzfeed News, FEMA said Trump never issued an order to stop providing funding to California.
Agency spokesperson Brandi Richard said, "We never got any such directive. That's evidenced by the fact that work is still being done and we continue to support wildfire survivors across the state."
Buzzfeed said Trump’s inaction was also confirmed by a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Homeland Security, which is home to FEMA, filed on January 9: "We conducted a comprehensive search of files. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate or identify any responsive records."
What inspired Trump’s tweet declaring that California’s disaster aid would cease?
According to the president, the state does not know how to properly manage its forests, leading to expansive and devastating wildfires that cost the federal government billions of dollars.
"Billions of dollars are sent to the state of California for forest fires that, with proper forest management, would never happen," Trump tweeted. "Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"
But FEMA told Buzzfeed several times after Trump’s tweet that there were no plans to stop helping survivors of the wildfires, the news outlet reported, though the agency would not say whether it had been directed to end California’s financial aid.
That Trump never issued the order to begin with is now confirmed.