We get it: California is at the forefront of the Trump Resistance, and no one is fighting harder to counter his destructive and mean-spirited policies than the state’s lawmakers.
But some of the proposals aimed at President Trump seem designed solely to score political points, not to improve the state in any real way. The 2019 law requiring presidential candidates to show their tax returns to be allowed on the state’s primary ballot was one example. That measure was obviously unconstitutional as well as partisan and pointless. Even if it hadn’t been struck down by the state Supreme Court last year, it wouldn’t have changed Trump’s behavior — he would have just skipped the primary.
Now, a bill by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) follows that churlish example by prohibiting state employees and officials from being reimbursed for the cost of staying at a hotel or resort owned by Trump — or any president in the future. That might be meaningful if there were lots of state travel involving Trump’s hotels. There isn’t. According to reporting by the Sacramento Bee, only one state worker has stayed a Trump property in the last four years.
Low said in a release that “this legislation will ensure that California taxpayers are not further exploited by Donald Trump’s violations of the emoluments clause.” The U.S. Constitution bars a president from receiving payments from foreign governments or any extra compensation from the federal or state governments above his annual salary.
We agree with the spirit of the bill, which objects to the president’s brazen disregard of conventions and laws meant to protect the integrity of the nation’s highest office. But it is not up to California to police the restrictions the U.S. Constitution places on the president. We don’t need another meaningless, partisan gesture from Democrats in Sacramento to know how they feel about Trump.