Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon warned Friday that California may attempt to secede from the United States in the next decade if Republicans do not attempt to reassume control of the state.
"If you do not roll this back ... 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," Bannon told a group of college Republicans in Anaheim, Calif.
Bannon pointed to the state's defiance of federal mandates including its protections for so-called sanctuary cities, which limit how local authorities can cooperate with federal immigration agents.
"We are going to enforce federal law. You’ve nullified the sanctuary cities law in this state. In fact, you’re a sanctuary state," he told the crowd.
The self-described populist and executive chairman of far-right Breitbart News compared the "dangerous" path California is heading down to a similar one South Carolina tried to take nearly 200 years ago: Dismissing federal law and moving toward secession.
"California is to Donald Trump as South Carolina was to Andrew Jackson. Back in the 1830s, the folks at South Carolina didn’t like the fact that Jackson — a populist in Congress — had put federal tariffs on a product," Bannon said, adding that the state decided to ignore the tariffs and "choose what federal laws they wanted to have and not have."
"And General Jackson said if they can pick and choose what laws they want, eventually they are going to try to split off and form a southern confederacy — said this like in 1832. So Jackson passed another law, empowered the U.S. army, sent the army in to South Carolina — told somebody, ‘If I have to, I’m going to hang John C. Calhoun from a lamppost,’" he said, pointing to one of the leaders of the what is now known as the "Nullification Crisis."
Despite California being a largely blue state, Bannon advocated for "a grassroots movement" that could come together and change the state.
"We’ve got a tough slog ahead of us," Bannon said. "If you don’t put your shoulder to the wheel, it’s not going to happen."
Bannon spoke for the state Republican Party's semi-annual convention, in which a sold-out dinner crowd of about 500 gathered to hear him talk, according to local reports.