NBC

Oroville Dam Crisis Is ‘Textbook Example' of Nation's Crumbling Infrastructure: White House Press Secretary

Sometimes tragedies can bring together strange bedfellows.

It's safe to say that left-leaning California and the Trump administration are not on the best of terms.

But sometimes tragedies can make for strange bedfellows.

At a news briefing at the White House on Tuesday, press secretary Sean Spicer said the damaged Oroville Dam's emergency spillway is a "textbook example" of the nation's infrastructure that have "fallen into disrepair." And he said that President Trump believes there should be an "overhaul" of the country's crumbling dams, bridges, roads and ports. "We need to pursue a major infrastructure package in Congress," Spicer said. "We hope everyone remains safe as the evacuations continue, and we will be working alongside with FEMA and appropriate government entities to make sure we are doing everything we can to attend to this matter."

He didn't detail any specifics of what the package would entail or how much federal help might be committed.

Spicer's comments came days after the dam's emergency spillway began to give way on Sunday, prompting mass evacuations of lower lying areas. Records dating back 12 years showed that three environmental groups were concerned about the possible erosion of the spillway, but state and federal governments as well as some water agencies rejected those concerns, the Mercury News first reported.

Trump's apparent support of fixing up the nation's infrastructure also comes a day after California Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday asked the White House for federal assistance.

In a letter to the president, Brown asked for help for the three Northern California counties affected, saying aid is needed to assist the 188,000 residents of Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties who were ordered to evacuate Sunday. Those people are still not allowed in their homes.

The federal government has not yet formally answered California's request as it's currently under review  at the Federal Emergency Management Agency regional office in Oakland.

[NATL-BAY]Dramatic Images Show Oroville Dam Crisis

California legislators and Trump have been opposed on many issues, most recently over the travel ban issue when the West Coast state filed a friend of the court brief against the administration.

Earlier, Brown took on Trump head-to-head during his January state-of-the-state speech.  The governor delivered an aggressive defense on California's liberal policies on immigration, health care and climate change, vowing to fight the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress if they threaten to roll back state policies.

And for his part, Trump has certainly not shown much love for California. Last week, he said he would cut off federal funding to California — a threat he also made about the University of California, Berkeley after a wild protest over a canceled Breitbart editor's speech — if legislators vote to become a sanctuary state.

In an interview with Fox News interview just before the Super Bowl, Trump told O'Reilly Factor talk show host, Bill O'Reilly. "If we have to, we'll defund."

Elsewhere in the interview, Trump told O'Reilly: California is "out of control" in many ways, and voters agree "otherwise they wouldn't have voted for me."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Us