One month into the Trump presidency, Mr. McCarthy is a man with a foot in two warring camps. He represents a 10,000-square-mile red rural stronghold in the farmland of central California, a state that Mr. Trump lost by four million votes. His seniority in the House leadership, and his ties to Mr. Trump, mean that he is indisputably the most powerful Californian in the nation's capital.And in an interview here, Mr. McCarthy left no doubt that his loyalties in this fight were east of the Mississippi River. He assailed California's Democratic leaders for provoking the president, and warned that it could prove damaging to the state, particularly as the Trump administration created an infrastructure program to pay for public works projects across the nation.
At this point, there are only a handful of states in which Democrats dominate, but it's safe to say California is one of them. Not only do Dem officials control much of the state government and statewide offices, but in 2016, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the Golden State by 30 points.But California is nevertheless a massive and diverse place, and there are plenty of Republican-friendly areas in the state. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), for example, represents Bakersfield in the single "reddest" congressional district on the West Coast.And according to the New York Times, the GOP leader has a suggestion for his fellow Californians: it's time to start being nicer to Donald Trump.
McCarthy told the Times that he will, of course, represent his district and state, "but what they are doing, they are playing with fire. Donald Trump is not going out in any way or form to attack California. They are the ones who are attacking California right now. They are the ones who are putting Californians at risk in every shape and form. And they are doing it to make a political point, which is wrong."That's the kind of quote that could use some clarification.I didn't hear the audio of the exchange, but I'd love to know more about how Californians are "playing with fire" by criticizing the Republican president. How exactly does opposition to the White House put the state "at risk"?The majority leader seems confident that Trump won't "attack" his home state -- a relief, to be sure -- but if the president won't go on the offensive against states that hold him in low regard, what is the congressman worried about?Is McCarthy of the opinion that states that oppose Donald Trump will face some kind of political retribution from the White House? Should other blue states, where protests against the president and his agenda are common, also be concerned about the consequences of "playing with fire"?