REPORT: The war between California and Trump


After Governor Jerry Brown declared California a “sanctuary state”, some signs on the borders of Arizona and Nevada began sporting an additional message to let people know that they were entering an “official sanctuary state” that is home to “felons” and “illegals.”

Calling it a “full-fledged fight” between the liberal state and the conservative administration, a new report in The New York Times sheds light on the growing divide between California and the Trump administration as tensions erupted this past week over several issues, including immigration, taxes and the recreational use of marijuana.

  • Starting on January 1, Californians embarked on their first days of legal pot smoking, but the Trump administration moved to enforce federal laws against the drug.
  • On the same day, the federal government said it would expand offshore oil drilling, while California’s Senate leader called the move an assault on “our pristine coastline.”
  • When President Donald Trump signed a law that would restrict tax deductions, lawmakers in this state proposed a bill which would make state taxes charitable contributions — and fully deductible.
  • California’s refusal to help federal agents deport undocumented immigrants prompted one administration official to suggest that state politicians should be arrested.

According to the Times report:

The clash between California and Mr. Trump and his supporters — between one America and another — began the morning after he won the presidency, when Kevin de León, the State Senate leader, and his counterpart in the Assembly, Anthony Rendon, said they “woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land.”

Since then the fight has metastasized into what could be the greatest contest over values between a White House and a state since the 1950s and 1960s, when the federal government moved to end segregation and expand civil rights.

Back then, of course, the ideologies and values at issue were reversed, as conservative Southerners, under the banner of states’ rights, fought violently to uphold white supremacy. In these times it is liberal California making the case for states’ rights, traditionally a Republican position.

“It seems like every day brings a new point of contention between two very different types of leadership,” said Jim Newton, a lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles.

And it does not end there: New laws that went into effect on Jan. 1 in California raised the minimum wage, allowed parents to withhold gender on birth certificates and strengthened what were already some of the toughest gun laws in the country by restricting ammunition sales and assault weapons, and barring school officials from carrying concealed weapons at work. Taken together, the measures are the surest signs yet of how California is setting itself apart from Washington — and many parts of America, too.

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