California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) fired back at Donald Trump on Wednesday after the president demanded the return of federal funding for the state’s high-speed rail project, which Newsom announced he was scaling back the night before.
Trump tweeted that California had been “forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars.”
“They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars,” Trump added. “We want that money back now.”
Newsom, however, called Trump’s proclamation “fake news” and defiantly stated: “We’re not giving it back.”
The governor explained how Congress had allocated the money to California “for this project” to connect the Central Valley and beyond and that “the train is leaving the station — better get on board.”
Newsom also appeared to suggest Trump perhaps wanted the money to go toward his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The newly elected Newsom announced the scaling back of the high-speed rail project during his State of the State address. He said the “ambitious vision,” part of which would have connected San Francisco and Los Angeles in under three hours, would “as currently planned” “cost too much and take too long.”
The project instead will center on completing the link between Merced and Bakersfield.
Newsom also used the same speech to take Trump to task over his own State of the Union speech. The governor said Trump’s claimed “border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis” that his state “will not be a part of.”