The California Legislature has passed a resolution demanding President Donald Trump apologize for what it calls his “racist and bigoted behavior.”
House Resolution 57 also “supports Congress’ efforts to censure” Trump and calls for other states to do likewise. It was prompted by Trump’s response to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent on Aug. 12.
The resolution, passed Sept. 15, contends that Trump refused to call out “the neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists” and just blamed “many sides.”
“President Trump sanctioned white supremacy and hatred across this country by failing to condemn these acts of violence and racism, and emboldened these groups into further action,” the measure states.
The resolution was introduced by state Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, a Democrat. He claimed California was the first state to urge Congress to censure Trump.
“California sent a strong message to President Trump, and the rest of the nation, that we will no longer tolerate his behavior,” Thurmond said. “The leader of the free world can’t continue to use language that legitimizes the actions of extremists groups that promote hate. Congress must exercise its power to check the president by voting for his immediate censure.”
The resolution passed the Assembly, the lower house of the Legislature, 53 to 4, with two Republicans voting in favor and 22 Assembly members not voting. Democrats hold supermajorities in both the California Assembly and California Senate.
California sent letters to the other 49 states Tuesday asking for support in censuring Trump.
“California has spoken, and we look to the rest of the nation to join us,” Thurmond said. “Our president, the leader of the free world, has failed to demonstrate through his words and actions that he is capable of consistently condemning extremist groups that perpetuate hate. It’s important that all our states unite and show that the United States of America stands against hate.”
Rachel Greszler, a research fellow in economics, budget and entitlements at The Heritage Foundation, said the California Legislature has more important issues to deal with.
“Spending time passing a resolution that demands the president apologize for his ‘racist and bigoted behavior’ is a waste of taxpayer resources,” she said. “Californians already face the highest taxes in the nation (a top rate of 13 percent). They don’t need legislators wasting time on useless resolutions.”
Greszler added that compelled apologies are “meaningless.”
Another measure, House Resolution 66, called on Trump to protect illegal immigrants under former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and urged Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.
Further, California will be providing $30 million to help fund legal services and student loans for DACA recipients.
“The new funding for DACA services we are adding to the budget will provide answers and help young Californians stay in the only country they’ve ever known,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said. “Donald Trump may love chaos. These kids don’t deserve it.”
Another measure, Senate Bill 54, “will prevent state and local law enforcement officers and resources from being commandeered by President Trump to enforce federal immigration laws,” California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León said. It was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, for his signature.
The bill blocks state and local law enforcement from investigating or detaining illegal immigrants, effectively making California a “sanctuary state.”
De León called the recent legislative session one of the most productive in the history of the state.
“We showed Washington how to govern in a bipartisan fashion and put the interests of our people ahead of those of our parties,” de León said. “I’m proud to say we did our jobs, something that is sadly all too rare in our politics today.”