It’s on. California. Trump. State’s rights against the potential overreach of the federal government. This has been a battle brewing since November when President Donald Trump got thumped at the polls in California by Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.
Clinton handily defeated the 45th President of the United States, taking home just 61 percent of the vote, while Trump lagged far behind, getting almost 33 percent of voter support.
He may have won the presidency, but somehow it seems as if President Trump has a bone or two to pick with the known Democratic hub. Let’s start with the election. According to the California Secretary of State Office, Clinton tallied 8,753,788 votes to the 4,483,810 ballots counted in President Trump’s favor.
That’s a pretty sound butt-whooping.
This may have been the sticking point in President Trump’s assertion to look into possible voter fraud investigation, as he noted on more than one occasion that votes had possibly been cast illegally.
On Jan. 25, 2017, at 4:10 a.m. and 4:13 a.m., President Trump put out two Twitter posts (Here and Here) about this matter: “I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and….” “ even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!”
When you examine the fact that California, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, has a whopping 2.67 million undocumented immigrants living in the state, it is not far-fetched to see where President Trump is trying to place his argument.
However, with that said, even if all those alleged undocumented immigrants were to have voted for President Trump, it would not have been enough to overtake Clinton at the polls.
Which leads to the second battle between California and President Trump: immigration. President Trump ran on the campaign platform of taking a hard line on the illegal immigration issue that has the nation in a flux.
With Mexico border wall talk and coming up with a controversial travel ban* that has wound its way in the courts, President Trump has shown he isn’t just selling wolf tickets about clamping down on America’s illegal and legal immigration problem.
The legal battle between President Trump and California is looming on the horizon. This is not a matter of if this clash will happen; it is a matter of when. Several prominent leaders in Los Angeles and the state have already come out and said they will not assist the White House in booting out undocumented immigrants.
Shortly after President Trump won the presidential election last year, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck came out of the gate with a quick and emphatic response about his department enforcing immigration laws.
“This is not our job, nor will I make it our job,” Beck said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was just as candid in his assessment of the situation. “One of America’s defining legacies in the world is the welcoming of people who arrive on our shores to escape the horrors of war, oppression, and violent persecution,” Mayor Garcetti said in a released statement. “The Executive Order signed today by the President unfairly targets refugees — many of them families with young children — whose lives may depend on the compassion and generosity of the United States.
“There is no evidence that this approach will improve national security. Our country is not made safer by turning away from values and traditions that speak to the best of who we are as a nation, and what we believe as a people.”
Then with his State of the State address in January, California Gov. Jerry Brown added his two cents to the subject, suggesting to the White House that anything to do with immigration is going to be a fight.
“This is California, the sixth most powerful economy in the world,” Gov. Brown said. “One out of every eight Americans lives right here and 27 percent — almost eleven million — were born in a foreign land. When California does well, America does well. And when California hurts, America hurts.
“As the English poet, John Donne, said almost 400 years ago: ‘No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main … And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.’
“A few moments ago, I swore into office our new attorney general. Like so many others, he is the son of immigrants who saw California as a place where, through grit and determination, they could realize their dreams. And they are not alone. Millions of Californians have come here from Mexico and a hundred of other countries, making our state what it is today: vibrant, even turbulent, and a beacon of hope to the rest of the world.”
That tug-o-war is big enough for the entire four years of Trump’s presidency to tussle with. But now the White House has seemingly picked another fight against the Golden State: the bullet train.
California is seeking to upgrade its massive public transportation system with a high-end $64 billion rail line. State Republicans are out to block the project and have called on President Trump to block a huge grant set to be awarded to the state to get the party started.
And to get back at California leaders for not supporting his stance against illegal immigration, President Trump has talked about taking monies from the state that the federal government typically gives out. If that means taking away hundreds of millions of dollars from the project, that would be the state’s GOP members’ wish.
“If we have to, we’ll defund … We give tremendous amounts of money to California. California in many ways is out of control, as you know,” President Trump said in an interview with Fox.
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* The U.S. Courts for the Ninth District ruled in favor of the states to keep the Temporary Restraining Order in place blocking President Trump’s Muslim/Travel ban.
Top photo: Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. during the State-of-the-State Address (YouTube)
Dennis Freeman is a veteran journalist who has written for various publications in Southern California.