California Governor Gavin Newsom will announce a moratorium on the death penalty on Wednesday, a move which has prompted fierce backlash from the White House.
“Defying voters, the Governor of California will halt all death penalty executions of 737 stone cold killers. Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am!” tweeted President Donald Trump in response.
Having previously entertained discussions surrounding the possible execution of drug dealers, the president’s tweet is his latest swipe at California’s governor over policy disagreements. The two have sparred in recent weeks over the White House ending negotiations with the California Air Resources Board (which Newsom called “another targeted attack” by the Trump administration) and the state’s termination of a high-speed rail system (of which the president is now demanding the return of billions of dollars in federal funding).
Newsom’s executive order will grant reprieves to inmates on death row, end San Quentin prison’s execution chamber and withdraw California’s lethal injection procedure. The move may prompt other states to follow suit in a fierce rebuke of capital punishment.
“I do not believe that a civilized society can claim to be a leader in the world as long as its government continues to sanction the premeditated and discriminatory execution of its people,” Newsom plans to say, according to a speech obtained by The New York Times. “In short, the death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian.”