California Republicans held their annual convention in Anaheim over the weekend. They made a controversial choice, inviting former White House adviser Steve Bannon to give a keynote address Friday night.
And while protesters gathered outside the Marriott, where Bannon spoke, a capacity crowd inside showed up to hear what he had to say.
Bannon noted how companies such as Apple — among many others in the United States — amass money overseas to avoid paying taxes.
“The folks up there think they get a special deal,” he said. “Put these companies in Ireland, or Luxembourg, or in the Canary Islands, wherever they put them. Don’t have to pay taxes, right? They want all the benefits of a free society … this inextricably linked combination of commercial relationships, trade deals, capital markets, that we, the citizens of the United States, underwrite.”
Bannon drew a strong reaction from the crowd when he talked about the “California Values Act,” written by State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and signed this month by Governor Brown. It’s also known as “the Sanctuary State Bill” and prohibits state and local law enforcement from acting as agents for federal immigration officers.
“You’ve nullified the sanctuary cities law in this state,” Bannon said. “In fact, you’re a sanctuary state. And trust me, if you do not roll this back, and I’m talking about people in this room, 10 or 15 years from now, the folks in Silicon Valley and the progressive left in this state are going to try to secede from the Union.”
The Breitbart News executive mostly focused on national issues in his 40-minute talk, but he did give a little effort to rally California’s Republicans.
“Everything you need to win, you have,” he said. “You have great candidates. Big, bold ideas. Actionable ideas. And you can put together a grassroots army. It hasn’t happened in California to date, but you can do it, and you’re going to have to do it.”
California’s GOP has a ways to go. Only about a quarter of the state’s voters are registered Republicans.