Newly-elected Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) of Silicon Valley vows that he will go to jail to protest the presidency of Donald Trump as part of the “California Resistance” to the new administration.
In an interview with Randy Shandobil of the “This Golden State” podcast, Khanna, a first-generation American whose parents immigrated from India, referred to Gandhi’s campaign of civil disobedience against British rule in the subcontinent.
“Resistance, for me, is something — I think of my grandfather. He spent four years in jail during Gandhi’s independence movement in the 1940s to fight for India’s freedom … Donald Trump, as much of a step backwards as that was, has a four-year term … four years in a democracy is a far easier challenge than the one my grandfather had.”
Khanna served in the Obama administration before challenging Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) in an unsuccessful bid for the Silicon Valley seat in 2014. He came back again in 2016 and won.
Asked what Khanna would do if federal agents came to his district, the 17th district of California, looking for immigrants to deport, Khanna said he would risk arrest.
“I think there is a point of civil disobedience. I hope it won’t come to that … if it came to a point where I thought there was a deep moral injustice, where they were rounding up folks who are going and living their lives, and have been in this country, and they’re splitting families, and there is moment of moral leadership needed, then I think I would.”
Khanna said that Democrats had managed to “resist” in 2004 when George W. Bush won re-election and Republicans controlled Congress and proposed privatizing Social Security. The result, he proudly said, was that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had led Democrats to power in 2006.
He praised Silicon Valley CEOs who had stood up for social issues in recent years, even if they had to seek common ground with the Trump administration on economic issues.
Shandobil challenged Khanna, noting that he shared some common stances with Trump, including support for term limits, opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and reform of the H-1B visa system. (Shandobil also asked Khanna to react to some of Trump’s more controversial policies, erroneously claiming Trump wants to “register all Muslims.”) Khanna said that his agreement with Trump on certain issues was coincidental and had nothing to do with supporting his presidency.
“California has to be a laboratory for resistance,” Khanna said, citing the “innovative, progressive policies” of the state.
He called Trump an “aberration” who did not have a mandate to change the country’s policies, because he did not win the popular vote. Khanna added that stopping Trump from deporting illegal immigrants would be his top priority.
“There was no accommodation with British imperialism,” he said, referring to his grandfather’s activism. “Anything worth fighting for, whether it was the freedom movement in India, or the civil rights movement, it never accommodates with principles that are abhorrent.”
He said that Democrats should not resist everything Trump did just for the sake of resisting, but should oppose specific policies. He claimed that Republicans had done otherwise, opposing Obama even when they agreed with his policies.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.