Newly inaugurated California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday delivered a sharp rebuke to the anti-immigrant message President Donald Trump presented last week in his State of the Union speech.
In his State of the State address, Newsom promised the state would stand up to Trump’s immigration policies and demands for a border wall. The governor on Monday ordered California’s National Guard troops to be removed from their post along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis and California will not be part of this political theater,” he said, noting that the number of border crossings are at their lowest since 1971.
Newsom said anti-immigrant views are “fundamentally at odds with California values,” as are Trump’s denial of climate change and silence on inequality.
Many of the troops being pulled from the border will instead work on tackling issues that Trump has downplayed.
“A third of our forces currently on the border will be redeployed to help prepare for the upcoming fire season by joining Cal Fire in prevention and suppression ― work, ironically, that was curtailed during the recent shutdown,” Newsom said, referring to the government shutdown that came as a result of Congress not approving a budget due to Trump’s demand for billions of dollars to build a wall along the border.
Newsom spent his first full day in office outlining a more robust wildfire policy, including demanding Trump double his financial investment in managing the state’s federal forestlands.
Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, Trump has suggested that California’s wildfires are a result of not enough raking, not years of drought and record-high temperatures. The president has also threatened the state with “no more Fed payments!” unless it remedies its “gross mismanagement of the forests.”
Newsom’s vow to defy Trump’s border efforts echo those made by Democrat Beto O’Rourke on Monday. Speaking to a large crowd in El Paso, Texas, the potential 2020 presidential candidate took aim at Trump’s demands for border wall funding.
“In El Paso, we are secure because we treat one another with dignity and respect. That is the way that we make our communities and our country safe,” O’Rourke said. “We know that walls do not save lives. Walls end lives.”