The California National Guard said it had received an assurance of federal funding for a campaign against transnational crime, knocking down Donald Trump’s claim to the contrary.
“We received written confirmation from the Pentagon that it’ll continue to fund” a mission announced earlier in the week by California Governor Jerry Brown, the guard said in a tweet.
Hours earlier, Mr Trump had announced on Twitter that the “Federal Government will not be paying for Governor Brown’s charade”, likely reacting to Mr Brown prohibiting national guard members from aiding in Mr Trump’s immigration crackdown.
The Pentagon did not immediately confirm that it offered California a funding commmitment.
Long at odds over immigration policy, the Trump administration and California have clashed in recent weeks over the scope of the California National Guard mission.
Earlier this week, Mr Brown said he would draw on federal funds to deploy up to 400 people to combat criminal gangs and crack down on trafficking in guns, drugs and humans.
While some of them would be deployed to the US-Mexico border, Mr Brown explicitly said none would be used to enforce immigration laws or help construct a border wall.
Those limitations shattered an apparent truce between California and the Trump administration. The president had rare words of praise for Mr Brown last week, saying he was “doing the right thing” in sending National Guard members to the border.
But he quickly shifted to anger and blame, first saying in a tweet that Mr Brown “cannot come to terms for the National Guard to patrol and protect the Border” and the next day saying the governor was attempting to “back out”.
Governor Jerry Brown announced he will deploy “up to 400 National Guard Troops” to do nothing. The crime rate in California is high enough, and the Federal Government will not be paying for Governor Brown’s charade. We need border security and action, not words!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2018
There is a Revolution going on in California. Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept. Jerry Brown is trying to back out of the National Guard at the Border, but the people of the State are not happy. Want Security & Safety NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
Looks like Jerry Brown and California are not looking for safety and security along their very porous Border. He cannot come to terms for the National Guard to patrol and protect the Border. The high crime rate will only get higher. Much wanted Wall in San Diego already started!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2018
Even as Mr Trump was accusing Mr Brown of reneging on his pledge, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was offering assurances. On the same day Mr Trump said California was backing out, Ms Nielsen said she had spoken to Mr Brown by phone about the terms of a deployment.
Just spoke w @JerryBrownGov about deploying the @USNationalGuard in California. Final details are being worked out but we are looking forward to the support. Thank you Gov Brown!
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) April 19, 2018
Liberal California has long served as a foil for Mr Trump, particularly when it comes to the president’s immigration agenda.
In response to Mr Trump’s election, California passed a sweeping law intended to wall off local law enforcement from immigration authorities. Mr Trump has lambasted California as a law-defying haven of crime and his Justice Department has sued over the law; Mr Brown has responded by decrying a federal “war” on his state.