California Forum

Trump’s foul mouth + Congressional moves + What will become of Dreamers? + Thinking of Montecito

Welcome to TakeTwo, drawn from The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s opinion-politics newsletter, The Take. Please go to to sign up.

A theme

We definitely need a day of rest after a week in which there was blowback over the Trump administration’s plan to open coastal waters to more offshore oil drilling, including California; a new state budget, with uncertainty brought about by the Trump administration; faltering talks over fixing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which directly affects 200,000-plus Californians; and Trump’s desire to oust 200,000 Salvadorans, 49,000 of whom live in California. We’re sensing a theme.

Our low-life leader

Donald Trump continued to debase the high office to which we elected him, and the nation he leads. The other day, my colleague Foon Rhee confided that he had never once used the word our low-life president spoke when he asked why we permit immigrants from “shithole” African nations, until, that is, he blogged it under the headline: “President Donald Trump shows his true colors – and he prefers white.” Our colleagues at The Miami Herald ran an especially pointed editorial under the headline: “So, Mr. President, would you say South Florida is a ‘shithole’ too?” He debases us all.

Passing a torch

Unlike our crude president, Rep. Ed Royce, an Orange County Republican, is a classy and hardworking guy. But rather than weather another bruising election, he is stepping down after 25 years, and endorsed his former aide, Young Kim, a former assemblywoman. Kim had been running for Orange County supervisor, but seamlessly transformed her website to declare Kim for Congress. Unlike our foul-mouthed president, Kim displayed her income tax return for the world to see on her website.

An upgrade

Rep. Darrell Issa, a partisan and combative Vista Republican who nearly lost in 2016, also is stepping aside, although there’s chatter that he’ll run in Rep. Duncan Hunter’s safe Republican district, especially if Hunter, who faces a federal criminal investigation, steps down. GOP Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, a retired Marine colonel, announced his candidacy and would be an upgrade. But as we noted in Take a Number, he has a $35,000 campaign debt left over from an aborted 2016 run for the U.S. Senate.

Jeff Denham

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, says all the right things about Dreamers, the 800,000 children of illegal immigrants. Our friends at The Modesto Bee wrote that Denham’s heart is in the right place and he truly wants to help them. Yet he cannot bring himself to go all-in for them by embracing a “clean” bill that focuses on solving their problem, without clouding it with the border wall that Trump seeks. If fixing this problem is the right thing to do, Congressman, why not just do it? The Mod Bee asks. It’s an excellent question.


We pause to contemplate Montecito, where deadly mudslides claimed at least 17 lives. Like the record fire season that preceded this week’s lethal mudslides, the worst-case scenario has been far, far worse than expected. And far harder to manage: Once again, tens of thousands of people were in harm’s way well past the point at which they should have been moved to safety. It is not too soon to ask why.