Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday forcefully rejected President Donald Trump’s threat to quell unrest by deploying troops to American cities.
“It won’t happen. It’s not going to happen. We would reject it. We would push back against that,” Newsom told reporters in Los Angeles, according to pool footage.
“The United States of America is not a foreign country and we’re not going to support the U.S. military to be coming in to do domestic enforcement within the United States of America,” Newsom added.
Newsom’s comments marked a return to a more critical tone toward Trump, which the California governor has largely set aside in recent months to maintain a working relationship with the White House during the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent months, Newsom has diligently avoided the type of antagonistic comments that he had regularly lobbed toward Trump, largely declining to respond to Trump’s threats of intervening in states that have been too slow to lift restrictions. On Monday, Newsom dismissed as “noise” Trump’s call for governors to crack down and make more arrests, but he stopped short of outright assailing Trump.
But Trump’s vow to try and pacify American cities with armed troops evidently crossed a line. In brushing them off, Newsom suggested that Trump’s political prospects were crumbling — the type of political taunt that Newsom has largely eschewed of late.
“It’s just another zig and a zag and deflection from an administration that’s on the ropes,” Newsom said.
While Newsom has dispatched National Guard troops to keep the peace in California, he has also adopted a more sympathetic tone toward protesters than Trump has.
He told Fox LA on Wednesday that he was glad all four Minneapolis officers on the scene when George Floyd died in police custody are now facing charges, while former Officer Derek Chauvin now faces second-degree murder charges.
“It was murder, we witnessed it with our own eyes,” Newsom said.
“Until we foundationally and fundamentally address the issues of institutional apathy, disparities and the need for institutional reform, then I really fear that we won’t have learned the lesson of this moment, that this is so much bigger than the tragic death and loss of one individual,” Newsom added. “This is this cumulative neglect of decades, a century, in this country that needs to be addressed.”