California's governor schools Trump before visit: "Build bridges, not walls"

California is the opposite of the Trump administration in some ways — and it's working

By Matthew Rozsa
March 12, 2018 6:49PM (UTC)
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(AP/Evan Vucci/Getty/Herika Martinez/Salon)

Jerry Brown, the Democratic governor of California, is schooling President Donald Trump on what it means to effectively address the needs of the people in his state.

"After you've examined your wall prototypes on the border, I invite you to head north to the Central Valley — the heart of California," Brown wrote in a public letter to Trump on Monday, shortly before the president is scheduled to visit the state. "Here in cities like Fresno and Madera, more than a dozen bridges and viaducts are being built for the nation's first and only high-speed rail line. We are already putting 1,700 Americans to work."


Trump plans on visiting the California town of Otay Mesa this week to inspect the razor wire-laden slabs that are intended to comprise part of an eventual U.S.-Mexico border wall. Although Brown has not indicated whether he will speak with Trump during the trip, his letter pushed the president on his widely held beliefs on immigration: "California thrives because we welcome immigrants and innovators from across the globe." Brown also stated that he felt Trump should focus more on "bridges, not walls. And that's more than just a figure of speech."

Brown was referring to a literal bridge here too — and it's the one that prompted the governor to invite Trump to California's Central Valley. The governor was talking about California's high-speed bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles that Brown has attempted to get off the ground during his tenure.

But the difference between Brown and Trump encompasses an ideological valley thousands of miles wide.


Brown has focused on improving California's economy through progressive programs and has shied away from the draconian immigration restrictions that Trump has touted since his 2016 presidential campaign. Last week, the governor accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of "initiating a reign of terror" against immigrants and "going to war against the state of California," after Sessions accused its leaders of creating an open border system and trying to secede from the Union, during a visit to the state, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Although California currently has its lowest unemployment rate on record, Brown also recently expressed concern in his final budget that California needs to prepare for the inevitable time when economic conditions worsen, according to The New York Times.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Jeff Sessions Jerry Brown Us-mexico Border Wall