California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill Tuesday barring Trump from the state’s primary ballots if the president does not release his tax returns. In a statement announcing the move, Newsom said that California has a “special responsibility to require this information” as the state is home to “one in nine Americans eligible to vote.” The measure also requires all gubernatorial candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the primary ballot. “These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence,” Newsom said.
A similar bill was passed by the California legislature in 2017, but was vetoed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who said he was hesitant to open the door to what could become “an ever-escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates.” Newsom has not exhibited any hesitation towards the president during his short time as governor and has regularly assailed Trump while the California Justice Department challenges several of the administration’s policies. Tuesday’s bill is perhaps Newsom’s most dubious effort, and was quickly met with backlash from the White House. Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s combative personal attorney, said the bill “will be answered in court.”