In a conference call with reporters hours after it was announced that he is Jerry Brown’s pick to become California’s next attorney general, Xavier Becerra had some strong words for Donald Trump and the GOP. He vowed to defend the state’s policies on energy, immigration, healthcare, and criminal justice reform – then issued a challenge:
“We have policies in place that probably won’t pass at the federal level for another five, 10, 15 years,” Becerra said. “If you want to take on a forward-leaning state that is prepared to defend its rights and interests, then come at us.”
On the call, Becerra said he’d be “vigorous in defense” of Brown’s policies.
That includes keeping California “the clean energy superpower of the country,” protecting otherwise law-abiding immigrants even if they are in the country illegally, and building on Brown’s changes that reduce mass prison incarceration, Becerra said. He also will seek to protect the state’s broad implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care law that Trump has pledged to unwind.
“We’re always ahead of the rest of the pack and we should be prepared to defend that.”
Though he’s a critic of Trump’s immigration policies, Becerra’s assurances to the illegal immigrant community seemed to be limited to those who were otherwise law-abiding people:
“No one who goes to a grocery store to shop should believe the state of California is going to do anything to keep them from going home to see their kids if they’re just being regular, hardworking individuals.”
Becerra’s challenge to Trump echoed the sentiments of Assembly leader Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, who issued statements condemning Trump and vowed to fight against his policies.