President Donald Trump on Saturday landed at Beale Air Force Base north of Sacramento, California, where he met with Governor-elect Gavin Newsom (D.) and observed the fire zone where dozens of people have been killed.
The Northern California wildfire started last week and has erupted into chaos; at least 63 people have died as a result, and over 630 people are currently missing, according to Politico.
Newsom and Gov. Jerry Brown (D.) were present when Trump landed on Air Force One, marking the second visit to California since Trump became president. When Trump announced he would visit California, there was wide speculation on whether Newsom would meet with him since he has repeatedly said his governorship was going to be a counterweight to the Trump administration. However, Trump's visit afforded him the ability to rise above the political fray and reach across the aisle to ask for help from the federal government.
Brown's spokesman said he joined Trump, who was accompanied by Mayor Jody Jones and FEMA Director Brock Long, at the president's invitation.
"A smart woman once told me that you campaign partisan and you govern bipartisan," Dana Williamson, an adviser to Brown, told Politico. "It's imperative that the victims of these horrible fires and the thousands of first-responders have the full attention of our federal, state and local leaders regardless of politics."
Trump and Newsom paused to speak to each other several times as they observed the charred wreckage that remained from the fire.
"Jerry and I have been speaking and Gavin and I have gotten to know each other and we’re all going to work together," Trump said, flanked by Newsom and Brown. Newsom declined an invitation to speak, but Trump said they were "all on the same path" regarding the need "to work in the floor, the forest floor."
"We’ll be working also with environmental groups," he added. "I think everybody has seen the light."
In addition to Long, Trump was joined on Air Force One by the newly elected House minority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), and Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R., Calif.), whose district has been heavily affected by the wildfire, according to Politico.
After arriving at Beale Air Force Base, they left with Brown and Newsom by helicopter to the Paradise fire zone about 60 miles north.
As he sought to consolidate support for his leadership bid, McCarthy aligned himself closely with the president. In Paradise, Trump heralded their relationship, thanking McCarthy for "the support you’ve given in Washington."
"Kevin, anything we can do, you know we’re here. Just bring it over to the office," Trump said.
Newsom and Trump have long been locked in a dance of mutual enmity, each regularly invoking the other to galvanize their respective bases: Newsom positions himself as the champion of California's alternative to Trumpism, while the president caricatures Newsom on the campaign trail as an extreme liberal who wants to open borders and distribute free health care.