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Gov. Jerry Brown warns Trump that California won't back down on climate change

Gov. Brown on election day. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Gov. Brown on election day. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown said Californians should do their part in helping unify the country after the surprise election of President-elect Donald Trump, but also insists the state will "stay true" to its principles.

"With the deep divisions in our country, it is incumbent on all of us — especially the new leadership in Washington — to take steps that heal those divisions, not deepen them," Brown said in a written statement on Thursday afternoon. "In California, we will do our part to find common ground whenever possible."

The brief comments released by his office were the first from Brown since Trump's surprise win. The governor told reporters Tuesday morning that the nation needed to quickly mend its fences after the divisive election, though he assumed it would in the wake of a win by Hillary Clinton. Brown made a brief trip to Colorado last week to stump for the Democratic nominee.

Few states are as likely to spar more with the new Republican president than California, where the Affordable Care Act has led to a sizeable expansion of government-subsidized healthcare and where liberal reforms of the nation's immigration policy have strong support.

Brown's comments come one day after legislative leaders vowed to "lead the resistance" to possible changes led by the president-elect and Republican leaders in Congress.

Though the governor struck a more conciliatory tone, his statement ended with a promise to defend the state's existing policy choices.

"We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time — devastating climate change," he said.

Brown was sharply critical of Trump during the presidential campaign season on the issue of climate change, taking aim at statements in which the businessman said he's "not a big believer" in the phenomenon.

In August, Brown vowed to "vanquish" climate change skeptics. "Bring it on," Brown said at the time. "We'll have more battles, and more victories."

The governor's Thursday statement ended with "E Pluribus Unum" written in all capital letters. The nation's motto means "Out of many, one."

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