President Donald Trump on Friday tore into the state of California, calling it “the disastrous results of overregulation” in a speech that lasted almost an hour and included a slew of tangents on trade, the economy and the 2020 election.
In a sweeping address at the National Association of Realtor’s annual mid-year legislative meetings, the president took swipes at California’s government — particularly Gov. Gavin Newsom — for its scaled-back high-speed rail project and the wildfires that tore through the state last fall.
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Trump chided Newsom for both outcomes, claiming they would have been better — or avoided — had he been in charge.
The high-speed rail project is one of Trump’s favorite lamentations, the subject of a number of his tweets since Newsom announced earlier this year that the full route — which would have connected San Francisco to Los Angeles — would not be constructed due to climbing costs and logistical challenges. On Friday, Trump reiterated his criticism of the revised project, which the president said links one “tiny little town to another tiny little town for billions of dollars.”
Trump boasted that if he had had a say in the project, he would have introduced an even faster “bullet train” to the state.
“And we also would have had it built on time,” the president said. “And we also would have had it built on budget.”
Trump also claimed improper “forest management” was the reason the blazes broke out in California in the fall — not, he added, because of climate change like Newsom has said.
“He blames it on global warming,” Trump said of the governor, who he described as “nice” and “young.” “I say, ‘Look, try cleaning the floor of the forest a little bit. So you don’t have four feet of leaves and broken trees that have sat there for 25 years.’”
The president has long seemed to enjoy bashing California, using its progressive reputation as his symbolic punching bag when levying blows at the Democratic Party. In his speech Friday, the president transitioned from his attacks on the state’s Democrats to jabs at China and the media, eventually circling back to bashing Democrats — those trying to challenge his hold on the White House in 2020.
“Some of these people are stone cold crazy,” Trump said. He once again berated the high-speed rails, dismissing current proposals for such infrastructure as inefficient and unprofitable.
“But I don’t want to hit them too hard, I want to save it for the election,” Trump said of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls. “Because I don’t want them to change.”