California Gov. Gavin Newsom is frequently at odds with President Donald Trump, but told reporters Monday during a visit to Washington, DC, that he wanted to maintain a connection with the president in spite of it all.
Newsom was quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle:
“We’ve had multiple conversations over the last few months,” both by phone and in person, Newsom said.
“I want to continue to have a relationship with the president on things that matter, and what matters is emergency preparedness, mitigation and suppression,” the governor said. “And that’s an area that should be above politics, apolitical, and I just think that’s critical and I want to stay in that space.”
The Los Angeles Times added:
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s only encounter with President Trump during a two-day trip to Washington this week for the National Governors Assn. convention amounted to a quick handshake and brief chat. Instead, the Democratic governor invested time with top administration officials, hoping to smooth tense relations with the White House that could obstruct federal assistance in addressing critical issues facing California.
The governor said one of his main priorities during his visit was to avoid stoking California’s escalating political feud with the president, including caustic flare-ups on Twitter between him and Trump over the administration’s U.S.-Mexico border policy, efforts to peel away strict environmental laws and attacks on the $77-billion high-speed rail system.
The governor said he had spoken to Trump on the telephone and that he had been cordial in person.
Newsom used his first “State of the State” address earlier this month to tackle Trump’s border wall and immigration policies: “This is our answer to the White House: No more division, no more xenophobia and no more nativism,” he said. California followed up by leading 15 other states in challenging the president’s national emergency declaration to build a barrier at the border.
But the governor also used his speech to cancel California’s high-speed rail project. That led Trump to demand that the state return $3.5 billion in funding for high-speed rail, $1 billion of which has not been spent.
Newsom confirmed that Trump had brought up high-speed rail during their brief meeting in Washington, the Times reported.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.