Two days after former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon warned that California may attempt to secede from the US over the next decade if Republicans failed to reassume control of the state, the state’s attorney general played down speculation that the state would make a credible attempt at leaving the US in the coming years.
During an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Becerra evaded a question about whether he would allow a 'Calexit' referendum on the ballot even though it's unconstitutional, saying only that the state would do everything it can to be the "leading force" in this country, rather than becoming an independent state.
Becerra said there are people in California who are frustrated with the Trump administration "constantly taking digs and hurting California” - but despite these frustrations, California needs the US as much as the US needs California.
"California is the economic engine of the United States of America, we on our own, as a state could be the sixth economic power in the world," he said.
"We all get to express ourselves and there are people in california that are frustarted with the trump administration constantly taking digs but ill tell you this...the US needs California as much as California needs the US."
"I think we can continue to be the leader in it," he said.
Becerra’s remarks come after California Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month signed the sanctuary state bill, controversially ordering local law enforcement not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities - a law that has drawn threats of a federal crackdown. The state has also sued to continue federal cost sharing subsidies to insurance companies that were recently canceled by President Trump - one of many lawsuits against the Trump administration.
Of course, while secession for California remains a distant possibility, groups supporting this cause have seen their membership multiply in the year that has passed since the election. SInce 2014, the number of Californians supporting 'Calexit' has grown from 20% to more than a third.
After several pushes to get a “Calexit” referendum question on the ballot for 2018, a CalExit 3.0 group is petitioning Becerra to call for a Constitutional Convention of the States so they can, among other things, amend the U.S. Constitution to allow for a "clear and reasonable path for individual States to become independent, so that CA can secede, if they so choose."