President Donald Trump arrived in California on Saturday to visit parts of the state devastated by wildfires despite criticizing forest management there just one week earlier.
Answering questions on the White House Southern Lawn before his departure from Washington, Trump called the fires a “shame.”
“It seems that many more people are missing than anyone thought even possible and I want to be with the firefighters and the FEMA and first responders,” Trump said.
The Camp Fire, which is burning north of Sacramento, has killed more than 70 and more than 1,000 people remained unaccounted for, although officials warned that number could contain duplicate reports.
Trump said that during his visit to the state he would be “talking about forest management.”
“It should have been done many years ago, but I think everybody’s on the right side. It’s a big issue. It’s a big issue. A very expensive issue, but very, very inexpensive when you compare it to even one of these horrible fires,” Trump said.
After landing at Beale Air Force Base, about 62 miles south of Paradise, at 9:50 a.m. PT (12:50 p.m. ET), Trump shook hands with with Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom. He then flew to the Chico Municipal Airport to survey fire damage in the area.
Trump toured Paradise with local officials just before noon and surveyed the damage left by the Camp Fire, which is now the deadliest in the state’s history.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Kalhan Rosenblatt