President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to cut off federal funding for the deployment of California's National Guard if Gov. Jerry Brown insists that the troops "do nothing," an apparent jab at the state official's insistence that they not perform immigration enforcement duties.
Brown on Wednesday mobilized 400 members of the state's National Guard to fight gangs and smugglers as part of the president's push to beef up border security. The California governor said that federal authorities agreed to fund the plan, which he announced last week, but that the troops would not enforce immigration policy.
"Governor Jerry Brown announced he will deploy 'up to 400 National Guard Troops' to do nothing," Trump tweeted. "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!"
The president directed federal officials earlier this month to send troops to the border in a push to curb illegal immigration. Trump later revealed that as many as 4,000 guard members could be tapped to assist Border Patrol agents as part of the effort.
Pressed on whether the forces would be tasked with enforcement responsibilities, such as arresting undocumented immigrants, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters last month that they would not "as of now."
The president initially praised Brown for "doing the right thing" by deploying the National Guard. But on Wednesday, Trump accused Brown of seeking to "back out" of his pledge to mobilize troops and ripped the state's localities for serving as sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants.
The president also has claimed on Twitter that the governor, whose state borders Mexico, was “not looking for safety and security along their very porous Border."
Brown, a Democrat, has been sharply critical of the president's approach to immigration.