Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown rips Trump’s wall: ‘We’re not going to sit around and just play patsy’

Gov. Jerry Brown won’t allow President Donald Trump to deport millions of people and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, he said in an interview that aired Sunday.

“We’re not going to sit around and just play patsy and say, ‘Hey, go ahead. Lock us in. Do whatever the hell you want … deport … 2 million people,’ ” Brown told NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.”

“No, we’re going to fight, and we’re going to fight very hard.”

But the Democratic governor, who was in Washington last week meeting with federal officials, continued casting himself as a “senior statesman” in the partisan sparring between Democrats and Republicans.

Brown said his administration would continue to pick its spots when bringing legal action, appealing to the president’s spirituality and referring to the state’s largest-in-the-nation immigrant bloc as “children of God.”

“We’re not going to bring stupid lawsuits or be running to the courthouse every day. We’re going to be careful. We’ll be strategic. And we’ll do the right human – and I would even say Christian – thing, from my point of view. You don’t treat human beings like that,” Brown added.

“Trump’s supposed to be ‘Mr. Religious Fellow,’ and I thought we’ve got to treat ‘the least of these’ as we would treat the Lord,” Brown said. “So I hope he would reconnect with some of these conservative evangelicals, and they’ll tell him that these are human beings, they’re children of God.”

Brown, during his trip to the nation’s capital, met with Republicans to collaborate on infrastructure, yet he also denounced their failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a bill that would have cost California at least $6 billion and jeopardized coverage for millions. Brown was asked what Trump could learn from his predecessor, GOP former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, another political neophyte who suffered from stinging early defeats.

“Don’t fight everybody. Pick your battles,” Brown said to Trump, citing the collapse of Schwarzenegger’s four ballot measures to reshape the state.

“That was the beginning of the end. In politics, you have to have battles, but you have to choose your battles. And you have to make more allies than enemies. It’s simple. Politics is about addition, not subtraction.”

Brown, who is in his fourth term and turning 79 next month, said the role of Democratic Party leader was open for the taking: “Right now, there’s a total vacuum,” he said. But the leader won’t be Brown, the governor stressed, in part because “I’ve run for every office and there’s no more left.”

“I’m willing to play whatever role I can,” he said. “And if that requires some leadership skill, I’d be glad to contribute that.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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