SAN FRANCISCO – Newly minted California Gov. Gavin Newsom doubled down Tuesday on his mission to resist White House policies that he says run counter to the interests of his state – and in his view, the nation.
“The answer to the White House is, no more division and no more xenophobia,” Newsom, 51, told lawmakers during his first State of the State address in Sacramento.
During his speech, Newsom confirmed the news that he was ordering National Guard troops off border patrol detail and redeploying most of the 360 personnel to wildfire and drug-gang duty.
The withdrawal echoes the move by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who a week ago cut roughly 90 percent of the 118 National Guardsmen assigned to the border.
Newsom’s decision to take a similar stand is a rebuke to both President Donald Trump, who has warned about caravans of migrants heading to the border, and former California Gov. Jerry Brown, who issued the order. National Guard troops are paid with federal funds but are under state control.
Newsom derided Trump’s recent State of the Union speech as rife with “fear-mongering” about a “so-called border emergency.”
He added that border crossings are currently the lowest they’ve been since 1971, and cited studies indicating that immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born citizens.
“This border emergency is a manufactured crisis,” Newsom said to a standing ovation. “California will not be part of this political theater.”