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Donald Trump sides with agriculture over environmentalists in California water clash

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Donald Trump cast the unending controversies over California’s water supply as a fight between farmers and environmentalists on Friday, and he took the side of agriculture.

“If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive, so that your job market will get better,” Trump told a few thousand cheering supporters at a rally in Fresno.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee mocked environmentalists for “trying to protect a certain kind of 3-inch fish.”

For more than a century, competition over California’s often scarce water supply has pitted a wide array of powerful forces against one another — big cities, the agriculture industry and conservationists among them.

After a half-hour meeting with farmers, Trump said the group had told him there was no drought in California.

“You have a water problem that is so insane,” he said. “It is so ridiculous, where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea.”

Without mentioning their names, he cast California’s Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as adversaries of farming who try to “play both sides.”

“When you’re with the senators, they want you,” he told the crowd, including many waving “Farmers for Trump” signs. “And then they go over to the environmental  side, and they want them. And then you say, ‘Gee, that’s strange. They’re for me. We want the water, but the environmentalists just endorsed them. I wonder why.’ ”

Trump also lashed out against various other adversaries, above all, his presumed Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. He bashed her use of a private email server when she was secretary of State and recalled the Whitewater scandal of the 1990s.

“She’s always skirted the edge,” he said.

Trump also defied critics who have described his attacks on Clinton’s speaking manner as sexist. He said he wanted to be politically correct, “so I refuse to say that I cannot stand her screaming into the microphone all the time.”

“Actually, that’s why I turned it off last night,” he said of a Clinton television appearance. “It wasn’t that she was lying about me in every single corner. I just couldn’t stand it.”

Trump covered his ears with his hands. “I got such a headache — ahh, please. But I won’t say it. Because we’re not allowed to say that, right? Talking to these women in front: Is that right? Was I good in not saying it?”

Noting his strong support among men and his unpopularity among women, Trump said: “I love women. Believe me, I love women. I loooove women. And you know what else? I have great respect for women. Believe me.”

Trump also called President Obama pathetic while saying he respects Russian President Vladimir Putin for being a strong leader.

“Putin did call me a genius, and he said I’m the future of the Republican Party,” Trump said. “He’s off to a good start.”

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