As part of the “California Resistance” against the incoming Trump administration, newly-elected Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) of Silicon Valley vowed that he will defy and protest Trump’s presidency even if it leads him to jail.
Speaking in an interview with Randy Shandobil of the “This Golden State” podcast, the new lawmaker described his protest as the same with Gandhi’s civil disobedience against British rule.
“Resistance, for me, is something — I think of my grandfather. He spent four years in jail during Gandhi’s independence movement in the 1940s to fight for India’s freedom … Donald Trump, as much of a step backwards as that was, has a four-year term … four years in a democracy is a far easier challenge than the one my grandfather had,” said Khanna.
“Anything worth fighting for, whether it was the freedom movement in India, or the civil rights movement, it never accommodates with principles that are abhorrent,” he added.
Khanna, whose parents migrated from India, served in the White House during Obama’s administration. Then on 2014, Khanna failed to unseat Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) in Silicon Valley. He came back to the political scene in 2016 and won the seat for California’s 17th congressional district.
During the interview, Shandobil asked what would Khanna do if federal officers came to his district looking for illegal immigrants. Khanna strongly responded that he would defy and risk arrest.
“I think there is a point of civil disobedience. I hope it won’t come to that … if it came to a point where I thought there was a deep moral injustice, where they were rounding up folks who are going and living their lives, and have been in this country, and they’re splitting families, and there is a moment of moral leadership needed, then I think I would,” said Khanna.
Khanna said he won’t back down on his vow like what Democrats did during President George W. Bush’s administration in 2004. Bush won his re-election and the Republicans controlled congress. He proposed to privatize Social Security but the proposal failed, which led Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the democrats to power in 2006.
Shandobil then questioned Khanna’s common stance with Trump including his support for term limits, opposing the trans-pacific partnership, and reforming the H-1B visa system. Khanna responded that his agreements on some of Trump’s policies simply coincide and had nothing to do with supporting his incoming administration.
“California has to be a laboratory for resistance,” Khanna said while describing the state’s progressive and innovative policies.
He called Trump an “aberration” who does not have concrete plans to change the country’s policies, reasons why he did not win the popular votes.
Khanna added that democrats should not resist and question every Trump policy just for the sake of resisting. They should only oppose specific policies.