Who’s paying for California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s attempt to ‘one-up’ Trump with El Salvador tour?

(File Photo: screenshot)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is being slammed for ignoring the needs of people in his own state in an attempt to one-up President Donald Trump.

The Democrat kicked off a four-day trip to El Salvador on Sunday to present himself as an alternative voice on immigration as he insulted the president and his “demoralizing” rhetoric about the Central American nation, Fox News reported.

(File Photo: screenshot)

“Gavin Newsom should spend less time raising his national profile and more time in California serving the people who elected him,” Matt Fleming, spokesman for the California Republican Party, said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “With millions of Californians living in poverty and millions more crushed by a skyrocketing cost of living and a worsening housing crisis, we need someone focused on our state.”

Republican state Assemblyman Devon Mathis also thinks Newsom, who was just elected governor in November, should have focused on the “crushing poverty” in his own backyard.

“The tragic circumstances that drive migrants from their homes should remind us that we have people living in crushing poverty in our own communities. Our attention and resources should be focused there,” he said in a statement.

Newsom’s trip, which immediately followed Trump’s visit to a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in California on Friday, was touted as a “fact-finding” mission to understand what is fueling migration to the U.S. The governor has been vocally critical of the president and denounced his recent decision to cut direct aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

“Right now you have a president that talks down to people, talks past them, demoralizing folks living here and their relatives in the United States,” Newsom told reporters, according to Fox News. “I think it’s important to let folks know that’s not our country — that’s an individual in our country who happens at this moment to be president.”

The Democrat explained why, just three months into office, he chose to travel to El Salvador from his home state which houses the largest – nearly 680,000 – Salvadoran immigrant population in the U.S.

“How do you understand California without understanding all the diverse cultures that make it the most diverse state in the world’s most diverse democracy?” he told reporters. “It’s fundamental, it seems to me, to governing a state. That’s why I’m here in my first months, not at the end of my term.”

The governor lit a candle and kneeled to pray at the tomb of civil rights leader Saint Oscar Romero, a Salvadoran priest assassinated in 1980.

Newsom was set to meet with President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, U.S. Ambassador Jean Manes and President-elect Nayib Bukele during his tour and was praised by San Salvador Mayor Ernesto Muyshondt.

“I think if he gets a good feel of our country, our challenges and opportunities, he can be a good spokesman,” he told reporters, according to the Sacremento Bee.

But according to KPBS, views on Newsom’s “firsts” differ depending on what side of the political divide is reacting.

The first time Newsom has left the United States in his official capacity as governor. The first time any California leader has taken an official trip to the Central American republic, or justified travel abroad as a fact-finding mission to learn more about a refugee crisis.

And the expedition doubles as Rorschach test. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either a gubernatorial study-abroad trip, a humanitarian and diplomatic mission befitting the state’s status as the world’s fifth-biggest economy, or pure grandstanding on a global scale.

 

But critics rightly argue that the U.S. president is responsible for international immigration, not the California Democrat who is blatantly “boosting his anti-Trump cred.”

“I’ve got areas in my district that are flooding,” Assemblyman Mathis said. “Not in Central America. Come see the central San Joaquin Valley….Come down to where we have Third World conditions.”

Asked about Newsom’s criticism of his asylum policies, Trump said the governor is “living in a different world.”

The governor’s El Salvador trip was reportedly being paid for by the California State Protocol Foundation and other non-profits, according to KPBS. That foundation received $1.7 million in donations from business, labor and other interests over former Gov. Jerry Brown’s two terms in office.

It seems many California residents and other Twitter users agreed that the governor needed to focus on the many ills plaguing his own state before figuring out what was causing El Salvador’s problems.

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Frieda Powers

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