Capitol Alert

Jim Brulte blasts California Democrats for ‘political posturing’ over Trump’s refugee order

Marv Owen, a delegate from Los Angeles, left, listens to state GOP Chairman Jim Brulte at the California Republican Convention at the Hyatt Hotel in Sacramento in 2013.
Marv Owen, a delegate from Los Angeles, left, listens to state GOP Chairman Jim Brulte at the California Republican Convention at the Hyatt Hotel in Sacramento in 2013. RBenton@sacbee.com

For Democrats enraged and taking official action Monday to denounce President Donald Trump’s order temporarily banning travel from seven majority-Muslim countries, California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte has a message: “This is purely hypocritical, political posturing.”

In response to Trump’s order, state Senate leader Kevin de León announced a resolution condemning it and urging the federal Department of Homeland Security to provide detainees access to lawyers. His actions follow weekend-long demonstrations against the ban at airports around the country.

Brulte, who infrequently wades into policy debates as the party chairman, noted Democratic lawmakers weren’t so vocal when former President Obama’s administration deported more than 2.5 million immigrants and, in response to a threat in 2011, instituted a six-month slowdown on visas for Iraqi refugees.

“These Democrats in the Legislature who are crying crocodile tears over this were deafeningly silent when Barack Obama did a temporary ban for people coming from Iraq because he was concerned about the vetting process,” Brulte, a longtime former GOP legislative leader said in an interview with The Bee. “This is politics, and this is what makes voters apathetic.”

“Rather than focusing on needless resolutions, the Democrats might want to fix the California budget deficit that they themselves created,” Brulte added in the interview, accusing the party’s leaders of misplaced priorities.

“They might want to start working on the income inequality in California. They might want to focus on California’s poverty rate, which is the highest rate in the country. And they might want to start taking a little bit of time taking a look at the public employee pension system, which is underfunded. That would be a better use of their time today.”

While Brulte’s remarks were in line with several congressional and legislative Republicans, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes, Yucca Valley, settled on a different approach in an earlier statement Monday.

“Religious liberty is a core value of our nation,” Mayes said. “My ancestors immigrated to America to flee religious persecution. While bolstering our national security is important, when forced to decide between security and liberty, I will always side with liberty.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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