Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox on Monday backed President Donald Trump's stance on separating immigrant parents from their children at the border, saying, "that's a congressional problem."
"I hope that we get a congressional solution very soon," said Cox, who was endorsed by Trump in the primary. "I think it's a horrendous situation that's happening down on the border... What those politicians in Washington ought to be doing is sitting around a table right now and trying to solve this problem."
Trump has blamed Democrats in Congress for his administration's "zero tolerance" policy on detaining unauthorized immigrants at the border that has resulted in children being held separately from their parents, and called on Democrats to back his broader border security agenda.
In a series of tweets Monday, Trump said "It's Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder (sic) Security and Crime... Why don't the Democrats give us the votes to fix the world's worst immigration laws?"
Cox, running against Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown, declined to answer questions about whether he thinks Republicans in Congress should sign on to Democratic-led legislation seeking to prevent separation of migrant children from their parents at the border.
"This is all about the gas tax," Cox said at a news conference at the Capitol, where he pressed his case for repeal of California's gas tax increase passed last year by the Legislature and signed by Brown. H
Cox, a father of four daughters, said he's "against separating parents and children," but echoed the president insisting that it is Republicans and Democrats in Congress who must act, not Trump or his cabinet appointees enforcing the policy.
"The president of the United States has tried to solve this problem," Cox said. "He said it this morning – get the politicians together, solve this problem, get a plan that works."
Newsom has denounced the Trump administration's policy, saying on Twitter "We cannot let this administration get away with this." His campaign blasted Cox's comments Monday.
"It's outrageous and extremely disappointing that John Cox would defend Donald Trump and his horrifically inhumane immigration policies," said Newsom spokesman Nathan Click. "Cox's extreme views...have no place in California."