California’s governor on Tuesday decidedly pitted his state against the Trump administration, in a call to prepare for “the battle ahead,” during the annual State of the State address.
Instead of focusing on California, Gov. Jerry Brown pointed to the East, warning Washington that the most populous state in the union views the future as “uncertain” after the election, and that “dangers abound.”
Brown said while federal law may overrule state law on immigration, California would use its enacted protective measures for undocumented immigrants. A variety of state measures offers the undocumented access to higher education and limit the state’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
“We may be called upon to defend those laws and defend them we will,” said Brown. “We will defend everybody – every man, woman and child – who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.”
Brown’s promise comes as President Donald Trump has pledged to cut federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, which could be millions for California’s major cities.
Underscoring his pledge to protect the undocumented, Brown swore in Xavier Becerra as the state’s new attorney general, a former congressman and son of Mexican immigrants.
Brown, long an advocate of the environment, also mocked the Trump administration’s “alternative facts.” The governor pledged the state would forge ahead on its own or with other states and countries on climate change initiatives.
“Whatever they do in Washington, they can’t change the facts,” Brown said.
Brown also pledged to protect the five million Californians covered under the Affordable Care Act, but remained vague about how he would make up any gaps should federal funding evaporate.
The governor faced a supportive and friendly legislature. California, which is 40% Latino, has a two-thirds Democratic majority in its legislature.
The most striking message in Brown’s address was its tone. Brown, who had been more restrained in public comments after Trump’s election, positioned himself as the leader for the state’s progressives, applauding the women’s marches across the country last weekend.
“This is a time which calls out for courage and for perseverance,” said Brown.
His last line in his address was a battle cry to his constituents.
“California is not turning back. Not now, not ever,” he said.