Visiting California last month to tour wildfire destruction, President Donald Trump heralded a new era of collaboration with Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, a frequent critic.
Two weeks later, Newsom says he’s taking it “tweet by tweet.”
“We’re grateful that he came. We’re grateful for his time and attention,” Newsom said Monday, adding that he had been in in touch with the Trump administration since the visit. “That said, we’re living in an environment, tweet by tweet, day by day, issues raise themselves to the fore. That makes it challenging for us to cooperate at all levels all of the time.”
The two have had a publicly fractious relationship: Newsom, in his gubernatorial campaign, explicitly ran against “Trump and Trumpism,” frequently slamming the president’s positions on immigration and health care. Trump, whose son is dating Newsom’s ex-wife, called Newsom a “clown” during a campaign rally in September.
But after spending time together in November to observe damage from the Camp Fire in Paradise, Trump said, “Gavin and I have now gotten to know each other,” and promised, “We’re all going to work together and we’ll do a real job.”
Newsom said Monday he was “very encouraged” by the day he spent with Trump and expressed gratitude to the president for not playing politics with disaster declarations in California.
“This is one area that, to me, needs to always be above politics,” Newsom said. “And I just want to make sure we stay in that space as we debate all of these other vexing issues in the state.”
One issue that could soon come to a head: the presence of California National Guard members at the U.S.-Mexico border.
After a request from Trump, Gov. Jerry Brown agreed in April to deploy up to 400 troops to the border and elsewhere in California, on the condition that they not be involved with immigration enforcement or building a wall. While in San Diego last week to tour an immigrant detention facility, Newsom expressed his intent to withdraw from the agreement before it expires on March 31.
“I have every desire to pull those Guardsmen back and assist in other capacities,” Newsom said, according to the Associated Press.