Pence offers olive branch to California lawmakers, state assembly speaker responds with sarcastic rebuke

Vice President Mike Pence recently sent a letter to the leader of the California State Assembly in an attempt to ease the tensions between the White House and the Democrat-controlled statehouse in Sacramento.

The sarcastic reply from Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon was probably not what he expected in return.

In late February, Pence penned a letter to Rendon offering an olive branch to the state that has been at the center of President Trump’s policies on everything from immigration to the environment, telling Rendon that the current White House administration values “the opportunity to work with you to build on our successes in the year ahead.”

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“We recognize that when California succeeds, America succeeds,” the vice president said in his letter.

Rendon’s reply to Pence – which was dated almost three weeks later – was not as diplomatic.

While Rendon does thank Pence for reaching out, he also says the Trump administration and its policies “have already done quite a bit to help” the state’s Democrat-controlled Assembly.

“Thanks to your policies, voters in California added five Democrats to the Assembly in the last election,” Rendon wrote. “In addition, one Republican has decided to jump to the Democratic Party, citing the President’s extreme positions. We now have a three-quarters majority — plus one.”

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, who represents parts of the San Diego metropolitan area, jumped from the GOP to the Democrats in January and gave the party 61 out of 80 seats in the Assembly.

In his letter, Rendon goes on to question how Pence thinks the Trump administration is respecting California’s rights by waging “constant legal battles” and leveling threats against the state. Rendon also cites a laundry list of moves by the White House that buck initiatives in California – including revoking the state’s ability to set stricter car emission standards, moving to repeal the Affordable Care Act and threatening to hold back federal grant funding for the state’s proposed high-speed rail project.

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“Although you probably know this, I would add that your Administration has been largely unsuccessful in its court attempts to take away our rights as a state,” Rendon wrote. He specifically noted the Trump administration’s courtroom losses when trying to overturn California’s sanctuary city laws.

The state itself has sued the Trump administration 47 times in the past two years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.