Trump flexes his muscles in California — but the Golden State is no pushover

Homelessness, immigration and car fumes were all used as ammunition

19.9.2019

Trump flexes his muscles in California — but the Golden State is no pushover

Homelessness, immigration and car fumes were all used as ammunition

San Diego/Washington — President Donald Trump brought his fight with California to a boil during a two-day visit, casting the state as a cautionary tale for Democratic rule ahead of the 2020 election.

“You can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” he told reporters on Tuesday aboard Air Force One. He reiterated his complaints about California cities’ approach to the homeless on Wednesday.

“They have to clean it up,” Trump said. “We can’t have our cities going to hell.”

In California, Trump largely stayed out of view as he shuttled from the Bay Area to Los Angeles and San Diego for campaign fundraisers. There were no meetings with the state’s Democratic elected leaders.

Over the course of his California visit, Trump and his administration targeted state policies.

Trump’s housing and urban development secretary, Ben Carson, rebuffed California governor Gavin Newsom’s request for more federal money to combat a homelessness crisis, instead demanding the state revise its housing regulations and crack down on undocumented immigrants.

In August, he accused Hollywood studios of releasing “dangerous” movies he said had fuelled mass shootings across the country. In 2018, the president accused California of using poor “forest management” practices that contributed to deadly wildfires.

California attorney-general Xavier Becerra said he would sue to block the Trump administration from revoking its ability to enforce stricter fuel standards.

In its rejection of federal homelessness funds, Carson said California has wrongly tolerated so-called sanctuary cities, which prevent their police from co-operating with federal immigration authorities. Those policies encourage undocumented immigrants to travel to California to take advantage of government resources that could be used to shelter the homeless, Carson said.

Newsom showed no sign that he is prepared to back down in his opposition to the administration.

“I don’t know what the hell’s happened to the Republican Party,” the governor said. “They’re nowhere to be found.”

Read more: Business Day

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