President Trump is about to play hardball with the People's Republic of California. The crux of Trump's stance: If you're going to act like a child, I'm going to treat you like a child.
Trump said on Sunday that he might "defund" what he called an "out of control" California. He objects to a move by Uber Alles Gov. Jerry Brown to turn the entire socialist republic into a "sanctuary state" that protects illegal aliens as it flouts federal law.
Asked by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly during a Super Bowl interview, Trump said he finds sanctuary cities "ridiculous."
"Sanctuary cities, as you know, I’m very much opposed to sanctuary cities. They breed crime, there’s a lot of problems. If we have to, we’ll defund. We give tremendous amounts of money to California — California in many ways is out of control, as you know. Obviously the voters agree, otherwise they wouldn’t have voted for me," Trump said.
Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento are all sanctuary cities -- and all three said they would legally challenge any attempt by Trump to withhold federal funds. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said thinks the 10th amendment to the Constitution, which reserves power to the states, will prevent Trump from doing so.
And Garcetti may have a point. The Constitution does not require states to help enforce federal law. There have been plenty of court cases that have upheld the notion that the feds cannot commandeer states, and Trump could stop funding only the grants that pertain to sanctuary cities -- and few of those require California to help the feds enforce their law.
And Trump, in a softer moment, seemed to acknowledge that. "I don’t want to defund anyone. I want to give them the money they need to properly operate as a city or state. If they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon," he told O'Reilly.
On the other hand, Brown pledged in his State of the State address last month that he's prepared to ease entry and access in to America for all illegal aliens -- and said he doesn't care what the federal government does.
“I recognize that under the Constitution, federal law is supreme and that Washington determines immigration policy. But as a state we can and have had a role to play. California has enacted several protective measures for the undocumented: the Trust Act, lawful driver's licenses, basic employment rights and non-discriminatory access to higher education,” Brown said in his State of the State. “We may be called upon to defend those laws and defend them we will," he said.