President Donald Trump said in an interview that aired today he would not be opposed to using defunding as a "weapon" against states that want to be sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants.
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"I don't want to defund anybody. I want to give them the money they need to properly operate as a city or a state," Trump said. "If they're going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon."
The latest comments on sanctuary cities and states came during the president's first Super Bowl interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.
The president has already signed an executive order threatening to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities. The Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States executive order, signed five days into his term, said that sanctuary cities willfully violate federal law by protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation.
O'Reilly asked the president about California lawmakers working to propose legislation that could stop state police and sheriffs from enforcing federal immigration laws, in effect turning it into a sanctuary state.
"Well, I think it's ridiculous," Trump said. "Sanctuary cities, as you know I’m very much opposed to sanctuary cities -- they breed crime, there's lots of problems."
Trump directly addressed the situation in California when referring to defunding as a "weapon," saying the state is "out of control."
"We give tremendous amounts of money to California," Trump said. "Obviously the voters agree or otherwise they wouldn't have voted for me."