By George Skelton
April 1, 2019
It looked like an early April Fools’ joke at first. But, no, it was just an ambitious rookie governor trying to play world leader.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that he’ll be flying to El Salvador to learn “the root causes of migration” to the United States.
… The trip will be paid for by the State Protocol Foundation, a group of wealthy interests that funds gubernatorial junkets.
Newsom should pay for it himself. And by that, I mean personally — out of his checking account, not his political kitty that is stuffed with special-interest donations.
Anyway, the new governor hasn’t been on the job long enough — three months — to earn junket rights.
There’s nothing in the California Constitution about the duty of a governor to get up to speed on why people migrate to the U.S.
And if Newsom wanted to enmesh himself in foreign affairs, he should have run for the U.S. Senate three years ago when a seat opened.
Why is Newsom really traveling to El Salvador?
Out of curiosity? That’s probably closest to the truth. To burnish his resume by adding some foreign policy talking points for a presidential run in 2024 or 2028? Time is on his side. He’s only 51. To build national ID? Strengthen his support among Latinos? Stick it to President Trump again?
Most likely all of the above.
… I suspect voters would prefer that Newsom devote his full attention to running state government, the job they elected him to do. I don’t recall a campaign promise to delve into the rudiments of migration.
… No, let’s start with impoverished sections of the San Joaquin Valley where water is too unhealthy to drink. And go from there, within California’s borders.
… Sorry, but a governor is not a presidential backup. It’s not a governor’s responsibility to assume a role that the president doesn’t want to undertake.
… His trip to El Salvador will be the first time a California governor has traveled to a foreign country solely to check on immigration motives.
It should be the last.