California Governor Gavin Newsom belatedly asked President Joe Biden for a federal disaster declaration Thursday — two weeks after the storm arrived and days after the snow stopped falling.
Newsom’s request is the latest delay in responding to storms that have killed at least a dozen people in mountain communities. He expressed a state of emergency for 13 counties a week after the storm made landfall.
Following last Wednesday’s declaration, Newsom left the country for a personal trip to Baja California – an apparent vacation – while thousands remained trapped in their homes, lacking food, fuel and medicine.
This past Wednesday, Newsom expanded the state of emergency to 21 counties. But he still hasn’t asked President Biden for a disaster declaration — a move requested by Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-CA) last week.
As Kiley said Breitbart News Sunday last week:
Kiley said, “I would appreciate it if the governor was more personally involved in this rather than saying this is something he felt comfortable leaving his office while it was happening.”
“We’re asking for a major disaster declaration,” he said, “which the president should accept, and the governor should specifically request it. As far as I know, the lieutenant governor hasn’t done that in his short stay here as governor lately day.
He concluded, “It’s just a matter of manpower and resources. … I hope the president will step forward — and first of all, the governor will ask him, and the president will do that — because we need all the help we can get, right now.”
Governors and tribal chiefs can request a disaster declaration before a hurricane arrives, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), whom Newsom likes to criticize for his stances on social issues, made a disaster declaration request for all 67 counties in his state in September as Hurricane Ian made landfall — not weeks after the storm arrived and the damage was done.
Although state and local officials have been able to plow some roads, the crisis continues. The death toll in the San Bernardino mountains in Southern California has get up to 13, while residents of communities around Lake Tahoe in Northern California, where rooftops began to collapse due to the weight of the snow, are now running short of groceries and gas.
Newsom continued his focus on criticizing conservative states and their legislation on social issues, as Californians focused on avoiding hurricanes, with another threatening “atmospheric river” flood.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot every Sunday night from 7 pm to 10 pm ET (4 pm to 7 pm PT). He is the author of a new biography, Rhoda: ‘With Kadalie, You’re not okay’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 US Presidential Election. He is the winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.