Trump berates California, threatens to pull federal immigration agents

President Trump speaks during a meeting with state and local officials at the White House on Feb. 22, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
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President Trump on Thursday lambasted California officials for how they are dealing with gangs and threatened to pull immigration and border agents out of the state to show just how bad things would be without federal help.

Federal agents are working to defeat gangs like MS-13, the president said, but the gang members “come in, they’re smart, they actually have franchises going to Los Angeles. No help from the state of California.”

He continued: “I mean, frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime mess like you’ve never seen in California.”


Referring to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Trump added, “All I’d have to do is to say ‘ICE and Border Patrol, let California alone.’”

“You’d be inundated,” he said. “You would see crime like no one’s ever seen crime in this country. And yet we get no help from the state of California. They’re doing a lousy management job, they have the highest taxes in the nation and they don’t know what’s happening out there.”

There is no evidence that the White House actually has plans to penalize California as the president described. Trump made the remarks as an aside in a listening session he hosted with state and local officials who have dealt with school shootings. He did not directly link the gangs to school shootings or explain his objections to how California officials are dealing with them.