A day after the Department of Justice sued California over its sanctuary city laws and Attorney General Jeff Sessions scolded Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for alerting undocumented immigrants about possible ICE arrests, President Donald Trump called her a “disgrace.”
The comments came during a cabinet meeting and were the first time the president spoke out about Schaaf’s actions publicly.
When asked about “sanctuary cities,” Trump said: “We are working very hard – the justice department has done a fantastic job. I do think we should have legislation where we put an extra line in the money we give them – ‘you want the money, you can’t have sanctuary cities.' That way we avoid the court battles all the time, which we will probably win … They want the money, they should give up on the sanctuary cities. It harbors horrible criminals.”
He then took aim at Schaaf:
"What the mayor of Oakland did the other day was a disgrace. They had close to 1,000 people ready to be gotten, ready to be taken off the streets ... many of them, they say 85 percent of them are criminals and had criminal records. And the mayor of Oakland went out and warned them all, scattered, so instead of taking in a thousand they took in a fraction of that."
Trump said that the mayor’s actions put the lives of federal agents in danger:
"They were all set, this was long in the planning and she said get out of here and she's telling that to criminals. And it's certainly something we are looking at with respect to her individually. What she did is incredible and very dangerous from the standpoint of ICE and border patrol. Very dangerous. She really made law enforcement much more dangerous than it had to be. So we are looking at that situation very carefully.”
Schaaf responded to Trump's comments while she was in San Francisco for International Women’s Day.
“I’m proud to live in a country where everyone can criticize elected officials,” Schaaf said with a smile, the Mercury News reported.
“I’m so appreciative of the Oakland community. I have obviously gotten much criticism, but much of it from outside of this community and some of the feelings of being supportive and being heard, of being stood up for, those have been really wonderful for me to hear."
“Throughout this journey with this new administration we are navigating the complicated power relationship between local, state and federal governments,” she said. “That’s part of the beauty of our Constitution. That’s part of the beauty of our democratic form of government. Mine is one of the many voices in that debate and I feel confident that the court system, which now has this case, is going to help us see some clarity.”
Schaaf also wished Trump a happy international women's day.
On Wednesday, Sessions criticized Schaaf at a California Peace Officers Association meeting in Sacramento.
“How dare you,” he said of Schaaf. “How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of law enforcement just to promote your radical open borders agenda?”
Schaaf responded using the same “How dare you” phase:
“How dare you vilify members of our community by trying to frighten the American public into thinking that all undocumented residents are dangerous criminals,” she fired back.