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White House domestic policy chief calls California ‘occupied territory’

A White House aide called California “occupied territory” in a tweet touting President Donald Trump’s visit to the state on Tuesday.

“Just landed in California. POTUS power swing through occupied territory,” Joe Grogan, director of the Domestic Policy Council, tweeted Tuesday night.

Grogan’s comments come just as Trump landed on the West Coast, where he’s expected to visit several western states including California — home to a few Republican enclaves, but historically a secure Democratic heavyweight. Occupied territory typically refers to land that has been conquered by an opposing force, such as another country’s military.

CNN has reached out to the White House and to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office for comment on Grogan’s tweet.

Grogan wasn’t the only one from the White House tweeting as the President went to California. As he was jetting west, Trump lashed out at Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who tweeted that the city’s police department “does not coordinate with ICE or participate in immigration enforcement.”

Trump responded that Garcetti’s efforts to protect undocumented immigrants “endangers the lives of the public and law enforcement.”

Trump is heading to the Golden State this week for a combination of political and official engagements — and to counter-program his potential Democratic rivals as they convene in Nevada.

The tweet is representative of Trump’s ongoing clashes with California. The President has bashed the state before for its immigration and environmental policies. He lost the state to his 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by a wide margin, for which he blames the loss on unfounded claims of illegal voting.

He’s also waged a battle against the state’s lawmakers. Two of them — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff — led the push to impeach him.

On his upcoming trip, Trump is expected to visit wealthy enclaves in Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley to collect campaign cash and to discuss water access issues with farmers in the conservative-leaning Central Valley. But otherwise his westerly journey will occur outside the nation’s most populous state and its hubs of American entertainment and technology in favor of friendlier territory in states like Arizona and Nevada.

Some of Trump’s clashes with California have reached the level of court showdowns. Last week, Attorney General William Barr announced a lawsuit against a new California state law that prohibits the use of private detention facilities, which are used by the Department of Homeland Security to house undocumented immigrants.

In October, a federal judge in California blocked a state law that requires candidates for president to disclose income tax returns before their names can appear on the state’s primary ballot — a shot at Trump’s efforts to resist turning over his tax returns. And in September, California joined New York to file a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from revoking the states’ authority to set their own vehicle emission standards.

UPDATE: This story has been updated with additional information on Trump’s relationship with California.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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