Libertarians pick Johnson again; Sanders sees California as the ‘big enchilada”


Bernie Sanders continues to traverse California ahead of June 7 primary.

The Central Valley brings out the sarcasm in Bernie Sanders -- directed toward Donald Trump

For the second straight day, Bernie Sanders found a reason to poke at Donald Trump, the man he would like to face off against in the fall.

On Saturday night in Bakersfield, Sanders mocked “big macho guy” Trump for refusing to meet in a one-on-one debate in which Trump had once agreed to participate.

On Sunday in Visalia, he mocked a remark that Trump made Friday in Fresno about the drought.

Trump had repeated what he said was a farmer’s assertion that there is no lack of rain in California and that water shortages had been caused by environmental laws.

In his re-telling, Sanders suggested it was Trump’s personal belief that there is no drought.

“We don’t fully appreciate the genius of Donald Trump, who knows more than all the people of California, who knows more than all the scientists, and he knows there is no drought,” Sanders told a few thousand supporters in Visalia, who roared their approval.

“Not to mention -- and I love this one -- that Trump has concluded that climate change itself is a hoax,” Sanders added. “Again he finds himself in disagreement with virtually the entire scientific community.”

What surprised him, the Vermont senator said with something approaching delight, was that Trump had said the climate change hoax was “perpetrated on us by the Chinese.”

“Now I would have thought that he thought climate change was a hoax perpetrated on us by Mexicans or Muslims,” Sanders said, referring to two groups Trump had targeted in unrelated matters.

“But why the Chinese? I could not say.”

Sanders, who held multiple events Saturday and Sunday in the Central Valley, insists that he will overcome his delegate deficit to Hillary Clinton with big wins in California and other states voting on June 7.

But he has also said that if he does not win the Democratic nomination, he will do all he can to deny the presidency to the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump.

Translation: Barring a Sanders miracle against Clinton, there’s more mockery to come against Trump.


Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld joins Gary Johnson on Libertarian ticket


At biker rally, Trump calls for U.S. allies to pay more for their defense

Donald Trump told the annual rally of motorcyclists in Washington that as president, he would make the U.S. military “bigger and bigger” and force allies such as Saudi Arabia and Japan to pay the full cost of American military protection.

“We protect Japan. We protect Saudia Arabia,” the Republican presidential candidate said, adding that both countries are wealthy enough to pay for their own defense.

“It’s going to be a whole new ballgame,” he told the crowd. “We send them wheat. They send us cars. I’m not angry at them. I’m angry at our grossly incompetent president who allowed this to happen.”

Last week, President Obama said foreign leaders he had spoken to were “rattled” by Trump’s rise. They are “not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements,” he said. Trump’s comments “display either ignorance of world affairs, or a cavalier attitude, or an interest in getting tweets and headlines.”

The Rolling Thunder rally has been a Memorial Day weekend tradition in Washington since the mid-1980s. It was founded by Vietnam War veterans who wanted to draw attention to the cause of service members who were missing in action.

Trump is not a military veteran — and says he prefers limousines to motorcycles — but his message seemed to appeal to the crowd gathered near the Lincoln Memorial.

“We have to rebuild our military. It’s been decimated,” he said. “We’re going to make it bigger and bigger — and take care of our veterans.”

At one point, he said “illegal immigrants are taken better care of than our veterans. We’re not going to allow that to happen.”

Trump said some of his rallies have been disrupted by “agitators” who are “professionals,” but he added that he did not expect any such problem at the rally of bikers.

Critics have accused Trump of inciting violence against protestors at his rallies.


Gary Johnson officially captures Libertarian nomination

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson was tapped as the presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party on Sunday, eking out a victory on the second ballot.

Johnson, who was the party’s 2012 nominee, won with 55% of the vote of the nearly 1,000 delegates in attendance at the party’s Orlando convention this weekend.

The former Republican governor came up just shy of the majority in the convention’s first ballot. Johnson faced some skepticism from more hardline Libertarian activists, who were particularly suspicious of Johnson’s vice presidential pick, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld -- also a former Republican.

The vice presidential nomination, which delegates select separately from their presidential pick, will be taken up later today.


Nail-biter at Libertarian convention in Orlando


Arnold Schwarzenegger not ready to endorse Trump, warns of extremes

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he is not ready yet to endorse Donald Trump for president.

“I will make an announcement before the election, you can be sure of that. But I will do it my way. Which is always an unusual way,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Schwarzenegger said he was convinced both parties needed to appeal to the middle, not their extremes. “I think it is important we go and bring both parties together,” he said. “This is where the action is, in the middle.”

Asked about Donald Trump’s comment last week after meeting California farmers that “there is no drought. They turn the water out into the ocean,” Schwarzenegger took a middle-ground approach.

“There is a drought in California,” he said. But he said he agreed with the criticism that “we are letting water run into the ocean…. If we could keep that water, we really only need four to five inches in order to really have all the water that we need. But we send it immediately out into the ocean. So it’s the wrong infrastructure. And I have tried when I was governor to build more infrastructure, and I was not successful…. It’s a very, very complicated issue in California. And it is very, very hard to build dams or to build infrastructure. So what they do is conservation.”


Sanders says California primary is the ‘big enchilada’

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday called California the “big enchilada” in his bid to overtake Hillary Clinton and claim the Democratic presidential nomination.

Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about his chances of winning, Sanders acknowledged that he needed to do very well in the June 7 primary.

“What I want to do, and I think we can, is win California here, and win under the big vote, do very, very well in the other five states,” Sanders said.

Moderator Chuck Todd asked if his campaign is over if he loses in California.

No, Sanders replied.

“California is very, very important, 475 superdelegates. Obviously if we don’t do well in California, it will make our path much harder. No question about it. But I think we have a good chance to winning California, maybe win big, and maybe win four or five of the other states that are off on June 7th….California is the big enchilada, so to speak.”

Sanders said Donald Trump “would be disaster as president” and pledged to “do everything that I can to make sure that does not happen.”

But he said a Democratic victory required a focus on working families, not Wall Street.

“If Secretary Clinton is the nominee, it is her job to reach out to millions of people and make the case as to why she is going to defend working families and the middle, provide healthcare for all people, take on Wall Street, deal aggressively with climate change. That is the candidate’s job to do,” he said.

That focus, he said, also extended to Clinton’s eventual pick of a running mate. Todd suggested Sen. Tim Kaine, (D-Va.), who is thought to be on Clinton’s VP short list, might be too conservative for Sanders.

Sanders said only that he liked Kaine, but that “for Democrats to win, they are going to have to address the needs of working people.”

Asked whether he would use his clout to push for stronger recognition of the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli control in the West Bank, Sanders stressed he remains “100% pro-Israel in the sense of Israel’s right to exist” but added that “the United States has got to respect the needs of the Palestinian people. They cannot be pushed aside.”


Who are celebrities supporting in California’s June 7 primary?

With presidential hopefuls darting across California, who are the Hollywood celebrities supporting?

This Los Angeles Times graphic has you covered.

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