Trump incites divisive opinions in CA

Gage Skidmore / flickr

Gage Skidmore / flickr

On the strength of an explosive presidential campaign that has pushed him out to an early lead in some polls of Republican contenders, Donald Trump has changed the political conversation in California, where members of both political parties have not hesitated in making him a political football.

Livid Democrats

Although Republican candidates across the country have found themselves muting their criticism of Trump — not wanting to draw even more media attention away from their own campaigns — Democrats have railed against him, especially in progressive states. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has stood virtually alone in backing up Trump’s more incendiary remarks, drawing a rebuke from Sacramento Democrats hoping to officially condemn both candidates.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, state Sen. Isadore Hall III, D-Compton, “offered a resolution blasting Trump for calling Mexican immigrants ‘rapists’ and drug-runners during his campaign kickoff last month.” In an interview, Hall told the Times it was intolerable “to have a president who is representing California,  [which has] the largest population of immigrants, calling immigrants rapists and thugs and criminals. We don’t have a place for that. California is a place of inclusion.”

Hall’s bill, SR39, would do more than merely criticize Trump and Cruz; it “calls upon the State of California to divest from Donald Trump, The Trump Organization, and any affiliated entities,” while urging “private businesses and individuals throughout California to end all business ties with Donald Trump, The Trump Organization, and any affiliated entities[.]”

According to the Los Angeles Times, which compared Trump to former Gov. Pete Wilson, “there was a flashback quality to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s hour-long denunciation of illegal immigration at a campaign stop Friday in Beverly Hills.”

“He appeared with a group of people who have lost family members in crimes or traffic accidents involving immigrants in the country illegally. ‘The illegals come in, and the illegals kill their children,’ Trump said.”

Complications for Harris

Influential figures in the state GOP, meanwhile, have trained their fire on Trump’s connections to the opposing party, which have extended remarkably far into recent times.

Shawn Steel, a member of the Republican National Committee and a former chairman of the California Republican Party, went after Trump’s support for state Attorney General Kamala Harris, the leading candidate to replace outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. “In the past four years, Harris’s campaign has accepted a total of $6,000 in campaign contributions from Trump — with the most recent contribution on February 20, 2013,” wrote Steel at the Flash Report. “When national embarrassment Donald Trump isn’t busy attacking immigrants, he’s writing big checks to Democrat Kamala Harris,” he continued, calling on Harris to “denounce” Trump’s words and “give her ‘Donald Dollars’ to charity.”

Harris was just one of two Democrats Trump donated to since 2012, according to Politifact. “Data from the Federal Election Commission and state elections offices provided by the two websites show that Trump has given $584,850 to Democrats and $961,140 to the GOP over the last 26 years,” the site noted.

The connection threatened to complicate Harris’s current posture toward Trump. The two have staked out starkly different positions on immigration, with Trump recently slamming the “sanctuary city” status of San Francisco — where Harris laid the groundwork for her political future by serving as its District Attorney. Under pressure in the wake of a stunning murder along the city’s waterfront, perpetrated by an unlawful immigrant, Harris refused to criticize San Francisco’s lenient approach.

“Let’s react to that specific case in prosecuting that specific murder, and making sure he faces very swift consequences and accountability,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle. “On the issue of immigration policy, let’s be smarter.” Turning to Trump’s comments on the matter, she described him as “‘ignorant’ and representative of ‘someone who clearly cannot be a leader,'” according to the Chronicle.

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