California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during the California Democrats 2019 State Convention at the Moscone Center on June 01, 2019 in San Francisco.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Trump's Criticism Of Tax Return Law Is 'Predictable As California Wildfires," Newsom Says

Doug Sovern
August 08, 2019 - 8:29 am

Gov. Gavin Newsom isn't surprised that he's a presidential Twitter target again, but he's choosing not to escalate his latest war of words with President Donald Trump.

It took Trump a week to go after Newsom for signing a bill that would force Trump to release five years of tax returns to qualify for the California primary.

But he finally did, tweeting that the new law is "ridiculous and totally unconstitutional" and constitutes "presidential harassment."

Related: Voters Sue California Over Law Requiring Candidates To Show Tax Returns

In an interview with KCBS Radio, Newsom said he's not surprised. 

"It's as predictable as wildfires in California," Newsom said. 

Newsom said he will release his returns, as required for gubernatorial candidates under the new law. He added that voters have a right to know if Trump is profiting from being president.

He thinks he's on solid constitutional ground, since states have the right to set ballot access requirements.

But he chose his words carefully when given the opportunity to go after Mr. Trump on gun violence, and his reaction to last week's mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy. 

"Obviously, he and I have an interesting relationship," said Newsom, noting that Trump has called him a "clown" during previous spats. "I want to maintain a relationship regardless. In this case, no, I'm not puling back my rhetoric. I'm just trying to sharpen where I think that critique should go. It's not just the president. It's Mitch damn McConnell." 

McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the Senate is a coward, according to Newsom, for refusing to allow a vote on gun legislation that's favored by most Americans.