Former DHS official: Trump wanted to withhold California wildfire money for political reasons

The White House denounced Taylor’s remarks, pointing out that during his tenure in the administration, from 2017 to 2019, he never publicly voiced concerns.

“This individual is another creature of the D.C. Swamp who never understood the importance of the President’s agenda or why the American people elected him and clearly just wants to cash-in,” White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement to POLITICO. “President Trump has an unprecedented number of accomplishments in spite of government bureaucrats who are only out for themselves, not the forgotten men and women of this country.”

In the ad, Taylor alleges that Trump asked for funding to be pulled from the Federal Emergency Management Agency during catastrophic wildfires that caused millions of dollars in damage in California, because the state was not part of his political base.

“He told us to stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn’t support him,” Taylor said.

Trump tweeted in January 2019 that California should stop receiving FEMA money until “they get their act together” on proper forest management. He also blasted the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, in November and threatened to cut off future funding unless the state adopted measures to curb forest fires.

Taylor also alleged that Trump tried to separate families of immigrants in order to deter them from illegally entering the country. Under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, hundreds of families were separated when parents were held in detention for illegally crossing the border. The administration officially reversed course on separating children from their parents after a fierce outcry, but Taylor alleges that Trump tried to reinstitute the practice in order to scare immigrants.

Taylor said in his op-ed that Trump became “visibly furious” when Nielsen refused. Nielsen left her post in April of last year.

“He wanted to go further to have a deliberate policy of ripping children away from their parents to show those parents that they shouldn’t come to the border in the first place,” Taylor said.

The president also ignored pressing national security concerns, derailing briefings to focus on building a wall at the southern border, Taylor wrote. Administration officials also had to talk Trump out of illegal acts, Taylor said, though Trump said he could get away with them because he had “magical authority.”

In the ad, Taylor described Trump as “one of the most unfocused and undisciplined senior executives I’ve ever encountered.”

The president’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner was dismissive toward Taylor on Monday, calling him a “nice kid” who was unable to handle the pressures of his job.

“It makes a lot of sense to me that he’s endorsing Joe Biden — when he was working at the Department of Homeland Security, no wall was built and the border was wide open,” Kushner told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “That’s why the president changed up the team there.”

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