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Newsom: Trump's Going to Walk GOP 'Off the Same Cliff' as Pete Wilson on Immigration

Former California Governor Pete Wilson speaks prior to Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's arrival at the election night party in Los Angeles on Nov. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he doesn’t want a “monument to stupidity” at the border but wouldn’t remove the current barriers erected near his state’s ports of entry.

Newsom also predicted President Trump is walking the GOP “off the same cliff” as former Gov. Pete Wilson did on the issue of immigration.

Newsom told MSNBC today that California is prepared to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the president’s declaration of a national emergency in order to acquire funds sought for a border wall.

“California is prepared to continue to remind the American people this is manufactured crisis. Border crossings up to 2007 were the lowest level since 1971,” he said. “The reality is, at ports of entry, most of these drugs are seized. And California is prepared to work with the administration but not on a monument to stupidity, a wall.”

Pressed on California’s current border fencing, Newsom said that “in many respects, it’s appropriate in certain areas.”

“It’s inappropriate in other areas. That’s my opposition to 2,000 miles in the wilderness and unnecessary waste of resources, time and energy,” he continued. “But at these major ports of entry, I think it’s appropriate. I believe in border security and I believe there are appropriate places for barriers. But I do not believe that we should even be playing into the current discussion, particularly with a president that couldn’t even spend the money Congress appropriated him last year. He spent less than 10 percent of the $1.7 billion Congress gave him over a year ago. He can’t even get that money invested. Why are we even having the conversation about additional investment or even this notion of an emergency?”

Newsom said that America in 2019 “reminds me a lot of California in the 1980s and 1990s, xenophobia, and nativism.”

In 1994, Californians passed Proposition 187 to block illegal immigrants from accessing public services. It was ruled unconstitutional in court, and Democratic Gov. Gray Davis dropped appeals in 1999.

In 1998, California voters passed Proposition 227 to eliminate bilingual education in the state’s public schools. It was repealed by Proposition 58 in 2016.

Newsom cited the support of Wilson, the Republican who served two terms in the ’90s, for the propositions as well as California’s “aggressive” three-strikes-and-you’re-out crime measure.

“We were fearful of other people. Now… we are not only the most diverse state and the world’s most diverse democracy, but we’re in a state where 27 percent of us are foreign-born, a majority-minority state where we’re living together and advancing together quite well across every conceivable and imaginable difference,” he said.

“The only people that are not advancing together right now is the Republican Party, which is quite literally third-party status now in California. If that’s not a cautionary tale for the national Republican Party, I think it should be. Donald Trump is walking them off the same cliff our former governor of California walked the Republican Party off in the 1990s.”