On Calif. visit, Trump views wall pro­to­types

Pres­i­dent also ac­cuses Gov. Jerry Brown of do­ing ‘a ter­ri­ble job’

The Washington Post - - NEWS - BY JOHN WAG­NER john.wag­ner@wash­post.com Rox­ana Popescu con­trib­uted to this re­port.

san diego — Mak­ing his first trip to Cal­i­for­nia since tak­ing of­fice, Pres­i­dent Trump on Tues­day showed off pro­to­types for his long-promised bor­der wall, strongly con­demned ju­ris­dic­tions that of­fer “sanc­tu­ary” to un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants — and ac­cused the state’s gov­er­nor of do­ing “a ter­ri­ble job.”

The visit, which drew protesters on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico bor­der, came at a time of es­ca­lat­ing ac­ri­mony be­tween Trump and Demo­cratic lead­ers of the na­tion’s most pop­u­lous state, who have sought through leg­is­la­tion and law­suits to counter Trump on im­mi­gra­tion and other poli­cies.

Even against that back­drop, Trump’s swipe at Gov. Jerry Brown (D) was re­mark­able com­ing from a sit­ting pres­i­dent. As Trump toured the site of eight pro­to­types of the bor­der wall, he told on­look­ers that Brown “does a very poor job of run­ning Cal­i­for­nia.”

“They have the high­est taxes in the United States,” Trump said. “The place is to­tally out of con­trol. You have sanc­tu­ary cities where you have crim­i­nals liv­ing in the sanc­tu­ary cities.”

The pres­i­dent also noted that he owns prop­erty in the state — a home in Bev­erly Hills and a golf club in Ran­cho Pa­los Verdes — and pre­dicted that peo­ple would start to move out of Cal­i­for­nia be­cause of taxes that are “way, way out of whack.”

Brown re­sponded on Twit­ter, thank­ing Trump for the “shoutout.”

“Cal­i­for­nia re­mains the 6th largest econ­omy in the world and the most pros­per­ous state in Amer­ica,” Brown wrote, adding: “#Facts.”

Trump’s trip in­cluded an ad­dress to mil­i­tary per­son­nel here at Ma­rine Corps Air Sta­tion Mi­ra­mar, where he was well-re­ceived as he touted planned pay raises and new in­vest­ments in he­li­copters and other equip­ment. Trump also floated the idea of cre­at­ing a new branch of the mil­i­tary to fight in space.

The pres­i­dent later at­tended a fundraiser in the Los An­ge­les area to ben­e­fit the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee. A few hun­dred peo­ple re­port­edly turned out to protest near the Bev­erly Hills res­i­dence where Trump gath­ered with donors.

The bor­der-wall pro­to­types Trump vis­ited are on dis­play in a dusty lot near the bor­der. The 30-foot-tall bar­ri­ers use vary­ing con­fig­u­ra­tions of steel, con­crete and even spikes to cre­ate ram­parts far more for­mi­da­ble than al­most any­thing in place along the 2,000-mile bor­der with Mexico.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is seek­ing $18 bil­lion for wall con­struc­tion over the next 10 years, an amount that would pay for roughly 300 miles of bar­ri­ers where none ex­ist and al­low the gov­ern­ment to re­place 400 miles of “legacy” fenc­ing.

“We need safety, we need se­cu­rity at the bor­der, and we’re get­ting it like we’ve never had it be­fore,” Trump said. “But we want to make it per­fecto.”

At one point, protesters could be heard chant­ing in Span­ish from the other side of the bor­der.

En route to the Golden State ear­lier Tues­day, Trump took aim on Twit­ter at its “sanc­tu­ary” laws.

“Cal­i­for­nia’s sanc­tu­ary poli­cies are il­le­gal and un­con­sti­tu­tional and put the safety and se­cu­rity of our en­tire na­tion at risk,” the pres­i­dent wrote, adding: “THIS MUST STOP!”

He echoed those themes in re­marks near the bor­der and at the Ma­rine base here.

Ten­sions be­tween Trump and lead­ers of Cal­i­for­nia — a state that Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton car­ried by 30 per­cent­age points in 2016 — have reached a boil over im­mi­gra­tion.

Last week, Brown ac­cused the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of “ba­si­cally go­ing to war against the state” over the an­nounce­ment of a law­suit that aims to com­pel Cal­i­for­nia to co­op­er­ate with Trump’s agenda of stepped-up im­mi­grant de­por­ta­tions.

The suit tar­gets three laws passed by the leg­is­la­ture last year that pro­hibit lo­cal law en­force­ment from alert­ing fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion agents when de­tainees are re­leased from cus­tody, make it a crime for busi­ness own­ers to vol­un­tar­ily help fed­eral agents find un­doc­u­mented work­ers and cre­ate a state in­spec­tion pro­gram for fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion cen­ters.

At a news con­fer­ence in Los An­ge­les be­fore Trump’s ar­rival here, Cal­i­for­nia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Xavier Be­cerra (D) of­fered a pre­emp­tive re­but­tal. “Here in Cal­i­for­nia in 2018, we know what ac­tu­ally keeps us safe,” Be­cerra said. “It’s the strong re­la­tion­ship be­tween law en­force­ment and the com­mu­ni­ties we serve. It’s the trust we es­tab­lish with the fam­i­lies in these neigh­bor­hoods, but it’s also some­thing be­yond that. It’s good jobs. Good schools. Ac­cess to good health care. Ed­u­ca­tion for our fam­i­lies. It’s a safe and clean neigh­bor­hood. It’s an en­vi­ron­ment with clean wa­ter and clean air.”

Hours be­fore Trump’s ar­rival at the pro­to­type site, a crowd of about 200 pro-wall, pro-Trump sup­port­ers gath­ered about a halfmile from the bor­der to make their feel­ings known.

Kathy Robin­son, 55, from Bur­bank, said walls have been ef­fec­tive se­cu­rity mea­sures in other places. She cited Is­rael as an ex­am­ple.

Robin­son, who works as an Uber driver and pho­tog­ra­pher, was decked out with a U.S.-flag-pat­terned ski hat, a match­ing tote bag and a Trump T-shirt. Around her, peo­ple were chant­ing “USA!” and wav­ing flags and posters.

Speak­ers at the rally in­cluded Tim Donnelly, a Repub­li­can run­ning for Congress in Cal­i­for­nia’s 8th Con­gres­sional District, who called for the im­peach­ment of Brown and of Oak­land Mayor Libby Schaaf (D), whom Trump has called a “dis­grace” be­cause of her stance on the fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion crack­down. Donnelly’s sug­ges­tion on Schaaf was met with shouts of “Lock her up!”

A few miles west, in the neigh­bor­ing bor­der-front com­mu­nity of San Ysidro, about 150 peo­ple gath­ered to protest Trump and the pro­posed wall at a Ro­man Catholic church.

Their posters ranged from cheeky to im­pas­sioned. “Go away Cheeto man,” one sign read.

Rep. Juan Var­gas (D), whose 51st District runs along the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia bor­der, in­clud­ing the sites of both ral­lies, said Trump is not his pres­i­dent.

Call­ing the wall “a sym­bol of hate,” Var­gas said its bud­get would come from So­cial Se­cu­rity, food stamp and Medi­care bud­gets.

“We have to re­sist,” he said. “They have to let him know that Cal­i­for­nia doesn’t wel­come him.”

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