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California is often the first state in the West to test new solutions to social and environmental problems. These days, the state is at the fore of a much more ambitious challenge, as it finds its progressive ideals — and its increasingly diverse citizenry — in frequent opposition to the policies of President Donald Trump. Every month, in the Letter from California, we chronicle efforts in the state to grapple with its role in the changing, modern West.
On the seventh day of his presidency, Donald Trump had a series of phone conversations with world leaders, as is standard for an incoming head of state. At 9:35 that morning, he sat inside the Oval Office with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the other end of a telephone line.
“I would appeal to you, Mr. President, for us to allow room to look for a new solution between our two countries,” said Peña Nieto via an interpreter. Their relationship was already rocky, due in no small part to Trump’s offensive comments about Mexicans on the campaign trail. After a couple of minutes of polite back-and-forth, Trump pled with Mexico’s president: Stop saying Mexico won’t pay for the border wall.
“They (the press) are…
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