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California Lawmakers Declare They Will Fight Trump Policies

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio
California Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar administers the oath of office to 80 Assembly members-elect at the state Capitol on Monday, December 5, 2016."

The return of California lawmakers to the state Capitol after an election is typically a ceremonial and celebratory affair. Not this year.

In their first meeting since the election, Democratic leaders on Monday doubled-down on their opposition to the Trump Administration.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon was no-holds barred in his opening remarks to members.

“Californians should be wary of the national calls for unity and healing,” Rendon said. “Unity must be separated from complicity.”

In a speech that quoted a war-time Eleanor Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, Rendon posed California lawmakers as a force that will defy efforts President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on, specifically to deport immigrants, register Muslims, and limit abortion access.

“Californians do not need healing. We need to fight,” he said.

Both Assembly and Senate passed resolutions urging Congress to protect immigrants in the country without legal documentation.

Lawmakers also introduced bills that would fund legal defenses for immigrants facing deportation.

"This is a salvo, if you will, across the board, to make it very clear that these are values of Californians," said Democratic Senate leader Kevin de León.

Republicans objected to the aggressive tone on a day that’s typically congenial.

“We don’t need to be adversarial, we don’t need to be partisan. The election is over, and it’s time to get to work,” said Republican Assembly leader Chad Mayes. “Yet, we decided that, right after the election, our first thing was for us to get partisan.”

Mayes noted California relies on the federal government, both for funding and regulations.

Earlier in the day, Governor Jerry Brown made a similar observation, while striking a more cautious note than his counterparts in the Legislature.

“I’m going to take it step-by-step and work in a collaborative way,” Brown said. “But also defend our principles vigorously. And I think that’s the wiser course of action.”


In his most extended remarks since the election, Brown sounded a note of optimism about efforts to combat global warming.

President-elect Donald Trump and many Republican leaders in Congress have rejected mainstream climate science.

Brown says he thinks they will come around to the scientific consensus.

“The science is getting stronger all the time. China is providing leadership, Europe, other countries, I think it will be very hard for the United States to go rogue on climate change,” Brown said. “So, it may take a few months, it may take a year or so, but I do think the United States will rise to the occasion.”

Trump met with climate advocate and former Vice-President Al Gore on Monday.

The President-elect has also called global warming a ‘hoax’ and appointed a climate change doubter to head his transition team.

Copyright 2016 Capital Public Radio