Updated Monday, 11:50 a.m. 

President Trump says California is “out of control in many ways” and that he’d consider “defunding” the state in response to efforts to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.

Trump’s declaration came in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who asked Trump about legislative proposals that would extend some sanctuary policies statewide.

The president didn’t respond specifically to O’Reilly’s prompting about California becoming a “sanctuary state,” but reiterated his opposition to sanctuary cities and repeated unsupported claims that such cities “breed crime.”

San Francisco, in the forefront of the sanctuary movement, has sued to overturn a Trump executive order that would strip federal funding from communities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

In passing, Trump remarked that “we give tremendous amounts of money to California.” Indeed, the Los Angeles Times reported on a study from the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office that found California got about $368 billion in annual federal spending in recent years.

The bulk of that cash comes in the form of Social Security and Medicare payments to individual Californians, the LAO noted. The Times also noted that the most current analysis suggests California actually sends more to the federal government than it gets back — with 99 cents in payments for every dollar the state and its residents sent to Washington, D.C.

State Sen. President pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, was among California officials denouncing Trump’s threat, issuing a statement promising to fight any attempt to take away federal funds from the state.

“Far from being ‘out of control,’ California is creating jobs faster than other states and immigrants are key to our economic prosperity,” de León said. “We are an engine for the country’s innovation and job growth, and our state annually pays more in federal taxes than it gets back. Our economy is the sixth largest in the world and 13 percent of the country’s GDP. So any pain the President wants to cause in California will ripple nationwide.

“President Trump’s threat to weaponize federal funding is not only unconstitutional but emblematic of the cruelty he seeks to impose on our most vulnerable communities. Taking such irresponsible action would hurt our senior citizens, children, farmers, and veterans — these are not political games, these are real lives the President is targeting.

Here’s the transcript of the O’Reilly-Trump exchange on California:

O’Reilly: I just spent the week in California. As you know, they are now voting on whether they should become a sanctuary state. So California and the USA are on a collision course. How do you see it?

Trump: Well, I think it’s ridiculous — sanctuary cities. As you know, I’m very much opposed to sanctuary cities. They breed crime, there’s a lot of problems. If we have to, we’ll defund. We give tremendous amounts of money to California. California …

O’Reilly: So you are going to defund. …

Trump: California is in many ways out of control, as you know. Obviously, the voters agree, otherwise they wouldn’t have voted for me.

O’Reilly: So defunding is your weapon of choice. …

Trump: Well, it’s a weapon. I don’t want to defund a state or a city. …

O’Reilly: But you’re willing to do it.

Trump: … I don’t want to defund anybody. I want to give them the money they need to properly operate as a city or a state. If they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon.

Trump: California ‘Out of Control’ and Defunding Could Be in Store 6 February,2017Dan Brekke
  • John Sarsfield

    Sanctuary cities like SF don’t “breed crime?” Tell it to Katie Steinle.

    • womensweardaily

      Don’t use that as an example. Come on. Not all immigrants who come here are murderers.

      • Curious

        One is one too many.

        • womensweardaily

          What if a white guy killed her? Or what if the she were black or brown or Asian.Would you care? One bad guy (or bad hombre as Trump would say) should not spoil it for all people who are coming here to flee their country. This was the Sheriff’s fault and his attorney. This is such a disgusting argument I don’t even ant to go further. You are just plain racist.

          • Curious

            Ah! the “racist” card. Sure sign of lack of any real argument.

    • TragicRealist
    • Jay D

      Cool, one example. Can you prove it’s a pattern? Right. Now shut your stupid face. Any idiot can find an example of any possible thing. That’s not an impressive way to make a point.

  • Erin Scholnick-Lee

    Well, since studies show that Californians are receiving less than a $1 in return for every dollar they pay in Federal taxes, than perhaps..and MOST CERTAINLY, California should stop paying federal taxes. Its pretty simple.

    • Curious

      Yep, and I’m not going to pay taxes to CA.

    • TragicRealist

      “California” doesn’t pay federal taxes, the residents do. How would all residents stop paying taxes together? That would be a massive boycott movement that could never work.

      • vetipie

        It has worked before and would work again, taxes would be paid to the state and the Federal money would not be forwarded to them, but instead kept by the state to use in for California projects that use Federal money now. Trump is corrupt.

      • Aquaria

        Your tax payment goes to a facility in the state of CA, and then gets forwarded. if it’s not forwarded, they don’t get paid.

        • TragicRealist

          You’re saying that federal payroll deductions out of paychecks all get processed by the state?? Not from say ADP right to the feds?

    • virgil

      With in a few more years CA will come into range of North Korean nukes mounted on ICBMs….em maybe CA should be cut lose from the union—they can respond to North Korea with spit wads.

  • Ernesto Julio

    Let’s see first how Trump turns his words into actual actions. As usual for Trump, he shoots and then later look at the consequences. If his Muslim ban and ACA repeal efforts are used as examples, did not start on the right foot and are not going very well so far.

    • Kurt thialfad

      Ok, maybe he should have waited until Jeff Session is confirmed.

    • Curious

      Muslim ban? Missed that one.

  • Christina DiEdoardo

    Let Il Duce do his worst 🙂 We’re a net funder of the federal government rather than the reverse–and I’m fine with the idea of our state not kicking up any more tribute to Washington until his Deplorable regime falls. 🙂

    • Curious

      California is the nation’s welfare queen. One eighth the nation’s population, one third the nation’s welfare recipients.

      • Lisa Marie

        Incorrect. That top honor belongs to either Mississippi or Louisiana (different studies show both. May be tied). California pays out FAR more than it receives from the Fed. We actually support much of the US with our tax dollars. Trump should seriously rethink which state he wants to piss off.

      • Christina DiEdoardo

        LOL. Got a cite for that “Alt-Fact”? I didn’t think so.

        • virgil

          He said queen….not king.

    • virgil

      IL Duce? I wish….then maybe MUNI would run on schedule!!!!

  • vetipie

    Everything Trump says, verges on stupidity, ignorance, reeks of dictator. He is trying to run the USA as business, not comprehending that he is there to serve the people, not dictate how we are to conform to his agenda. He is a corrupt mobster, self aggrandizing sociopath. I want nothing to do with him or Bannon and the rest of global predatory CIA/Military Petro Corporate machine, and Arms manufacturers, are who really control the decades long Wars. They can go to hell basically.

  • Miranda

    I do want to see CA fight this to the Supreme Court if necessary! ‘Sanctuary Cities’ do *not* break the law, rather they make a choice on how to prioritize local resources. Much more important, is the notion that a President, or Congress for that matter can withhold essencial resources (i.e. Social Security and Medicare) to *some* citizens as a way of punishing a State?!! Outrageous and if not illegal it must be made so immediately!

  • Fibonacci Octopus

    “…California actually sends more to the federal government than it gets back — with 99 cents in payments for every dollar the state and its residents sent to Washington, D.C.” Payments to whom? Because if it’s Washington this sentence makes no sense. Anyway, it’s good that you mention federal payments go to the least fortunate. I’d be curious to know how much of California’s payment to DC is directly from residents in the form of federal taxes (which California never touches) and how much is from the state itself. Because that also matters for understanding California’s position.

  • virgil

    CA is a de facto one party state…of course it is out of control.

  • Darksoul SF

    I pretty sure California is most part reason why United States are getting so much money and jobs.


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

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