California Governor Gavin Newsom praised President Donald Trump at an investor summit at Stanford University on Monday, saying the administration’s “Opportunity Zones” program could boost investment in low-income areas.
Newsom’s comments raised eyebrows across the state, as he and the president have been better known for arguing in public. The two have fought over immigration policy, funding for California’s now-defunct high-speed rail, and — most recently — whether the governor told Trump he was a “great president.” But Newsom is praising Trump’s program, which was part of the 2017 Republican tax cut law that Democrats have tried to denounce as a “scam.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
Newsom said the Opportunity Zones program could help address two of the state’s major challenges: promoting energy investment to meet its climate change goals and providing funding for housing amid a shortage that has exacerbated income inequality.
Newsom acknowledged that it was unusual for a Democrat to endorse a Trump program, particularly given how frequently he and the president have sparred.
“We all heard about these opportunity zones. We were a bit perplexed,” Newsom said. “A lot of us, at least on my side of the political aisle said, ‘That actually sounds like a good idea. Wait a second, it came out of which administration? I’m still trying to get my arms around it. Maybe it’s too good of an idea.’”
Other Democrats and the media have tried to dismiss the idea of Opportunity Zones, with the Associated Press even suggesting the program could become vehicle for the Trump family to profit from their own real estate investments.
However, as Paris Dennard, former director of black outreach for the George W. Bush White House and current member of President Trump’s Commission on White House Fellows, argued in the Daily Caller, the Opportunity Zones form part of Trump’s “jobs and justice” agenda to change existing laws and incentives “for the betterment of all Americans, especially those in fragile communities and black Americans.”
Gavin Newsom seems to agree.
Despite public sparring with Trump, and dozens of lawsuits, both Newsom and his predecessor, Jerry Brown, have worked well with Trump when it comes to disaster relief and infrastructure policy — high-speed rail aside.
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.