Expected to visit Northern California, President Donald Trump has added a visit to Southern California and the Ventura County fire areas to his itinerary.
Air Force One touched down at Naval Air Station Point Magu at 3:07 PM, a location just north of Los Angeles. Trump planned to meet with Andrew Fox, the mayor of Thousand Oaks, site of a mass shooting followed by the wildfires. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean was also invited to the meeting.
President Trump visited the press cabin during the flight with Gov. Brown, Gov.-elect Newsom and Rep. Kevin McCarthy shortly after 2 pm. He spoke for about 11 minutes, a portion of which was off the record and a portion of which, dealing with the wildfires, was on the record.
Trump said state and federal partners are working “very well” together on the fires. “What took place over the last nine days is devastating for our country, and for a great state,” the president said, adding that Newsom is “going to pick up the ball brilliantly. I have no doubt about it.” Trump also praised Brown a rare bit of bi-partisan support from the usually bitter rivals.
Asked whether climate change played a role in the devastarting fires Trump jumped in. “We didn’t discuss it,” Trump said.
Brown interjected quietly, “obliquely.”
Trump continued: “We have different views but maybe not as different as people think. Things are happening. Things are changing. And I think most importantly we’re doing things about – to make it better. We’re going to make it a lot better.”
Trump then praised first responders, law enforcement and FEMA, which he called an “unsung hero.”
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Trump said, returning to the fires. “And what we saw there wasn’t as bad as some of the areas where we’re not allowed to go, where we just can’t go for safety reasons. Some of the areas are worse than that. And I say, how does it get worse? It’s a big, big problem.”
The president said that responders are “in big trouble” if the winds change.
“I guess a big factor here was 80 mile an hour winds….It looked like a blow torch…. A football field a second. So if you’re sitting in your home and you hear, well, it’s fairly close by, maybe I’ll watch the end of the program — ”
President Trump then joked, “I’ll watch the end of the CNN, okay? I’ll watch it to the hour, and then I’ll get out — “And, you know, it takes an extra five minutes and that’s the difference between life and death and you have no idea that’s going to happen.”
“Nobody’s ever seen anything like this. “