Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon had a message for California newspaper publishers Wednesday: “I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump.”
Led by Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, Democrats in the California Legislature have been setting themselves up as the resistance to the new administration since before Trump took office. De León in particular has been very outspoken against Trump and the president’s executive orders on immigration, saying the actions conflict with California values.
Rendon’s speech before the the California Newspaper Publishers Association strayed from the typical anti-Trump attack. While Rendon touched on the stark differences between deep-blue California and a GOP-dominated federal government, he told a room full of newspaper executives that his opening remarks at a recent Assembly Democrats Caucus retreat were that he was tired of speaking about the president.
“We’re all doing a great job of talking about Trump and holding Trump accountable,” Rendon said. “If Hillary Clinton had gotten elected president of the United States, we would have started the year with 2.5 million children in California living in poverty. If Hillary Clinton had been elected president of the United States, we would have started the year with crumbling roads.”
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He remarked on the importance of telling the stories of Californians who suffer from the state’s housing crisis and transportation issues.
The publishers gathered at the Sacramento Convention Center for its annual Government Affairs Day. The list of speakers included Rendon, de León, Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes, Board of Equalization Chairwoman Fiona Ma and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Fuller and Mayes each touched on their desire to focus on California instead of Washington. Mayes drew parallels between reactions to Trump and his own party’s anti-Barack Obama stance over the last eight years.
“I think we’ve lost our way, quite frankly,” Mayes said. “I think we’ve gotten to a point, as members of the board of directors, instead of focusing on the things that we’re supposed to, we’ve focused on the politics or just staying in office.”
Mayes commended the publishers for the work of their organizations and took a dig at the new administration.
“Alternative facts aren’t acceptable,” he said. “Facts are acceptable because the only time you’re able to make decisions is based upon real information.”
Back in May, the Assembly Republican leader tweeted that Trump “hasn’t proven ready” to be president. He’s also voiced concerns about the president’s temporary ban on refugees and immigrants from seven countries.
When asked if the anti-Trump talk is alienating the state from the federal government, de León said it’s his responsibility to protect the people and values of California.
“Had John McCain run for the presidency or had he won eight years ago, as a partisan and as a Democrat, I would naturally be disappointed. But I think I would get over it rather quickly, try to find common ground, see how we can move forward as a nation together,” said de León, before adding that he would have felt the same way if Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush or John Kasich became president.
“This is extraordinary, and extraordinary times call for extraordinary action,” he said.