Trump visits California, USC experts available for comment

March 13, 2018

One hyperbole about Donald Trump is true: There has never been a president who makes more news. His visits California for the first time since his 2016 election, hours after the ouster of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, and days after a pivot on suggestions for gun control, an announcement of meetings with North Korea, and a lawsuit against California over immigration laws that Gov. Brown referred to as a declaration of “war.” It takes a special cadre of specialists to parse the many controversies.

Contact: Emily Gersema, (213) 361-6730 or

Border wall samples are a photo opp in the #resist state

“This is a photo opp at the border and then he’s going to pick up a bunch of money in Beverly Hills.”

Robert Shrum, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Insitute of Politics at USC, is a former political consultant who worked on numerous campaigns and a professor for the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

The Unruh Institute co-leads the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll with the Center for Economic and Social Research at the USC Dornsife College. Their most recent national results showed troubling numbers for the GOP for this year’s mid-term elections. Additional national and statewide polls are planned throughout the year.

Contact: or (202) 338-1812

Justice Department’s suit against California over sanctuary laws

Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week filed a lawsuit challenging California’s immigration laws, including one that prohibits state and local law enforcement from investigating arrestees’ immigration status or reporting them to federal authorities. Gov. Jerry Brown said the lawsuit meant the Trump administration was “basically going to war with the state of California.”

Jean Lantz Reisz, a teaching fellow at the USC Gould School of Law and at the USC Immigration Clinic, can answer questions about federal and state immigration matters.

Contact: or contact USC Media Relations at (213) 740-2215

Trump’s political enemies, relationship with GOP leadership

“It is possible Trump values political enemies more than allies in his pursuit of re-election; legislative success may be a secondary objective in the President’s political calculations. But running against one’s party is unprecedented for a modern president.

“The only individuals who have tried such a strategy were John Tyler and Andrew Johnson in the 19th century. During their time in office, Tyler and Johnson had become pariahs from their respective parties (the Whigs and Republicans), and sought to realign existing partisan forces for their own reelection benefit. Neither was successful. Whatever President Trump’s strategy may be, congressional Republicans are in for a challenging couple of years.”

USC Provost Professor Jeffrey A. Jenkins co-wrote those statements with Andrew Clarke of Lafayette College for their study published in November in the journal The Forum.

Jenkins is the director of the Bedrosian Center and director of the Political Institutions and Political Economy Collaborative at the USC Price School of Public Policy. He is an expert in American political history, including the origins and development of congressional and partisan institutions.

Contact: or (213) 821-4717

North Korea’s past should inform U.S. negotiations

“In my view, it is clear that the United States will have to make significant concessions to achieve a comprehensive permanent agreement. Negotiations at this high a level present an opportunity, but it will be challenging. We can gain important insights from past negotiations.”

“Trump engaging directly with Kim Jong Un may be both an opportunity and a liability. Trump has no experience with delicate negotiations. He is not averse to taking bold positions (as a candidate, he welcomed direct talks with Kim Jong Un, suggesting they eat hamburgers over discussions). He has also backtracked on agreements when they are negatively viewed by Republicans or when media coverage makes it appear as if he’s ‘giving in.'”

Jeffrey Fields wrote those statements for an opinion piece for The Conversation posted today. An expert in international security, diplomacy, and nuclear counterproliferation, Fields is a former State Department and Defense Department official who now leads the Dornsife Washington, D.C., Program. He is an assistant professor for the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Contact: or (213) 740-1335

‘America cannot be great… if our children are not safe from gun violence’

“Although security measures are important, a focus on simply preparing for shootings is insufficient. We need a change in mindset and policy from reaction to prevention. Prevention entails more than security measures and begins long before a gunman comes to school. We need a comprehensive public health approach to gun violence that is informed by scientific evidence and free from partisan politics.”

Ron Avi Astor was among several researchers and organizations nationwide that recently issued these statements in a public “Call to Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States of America” with recommended policy changes for preventing school shootings like the one in February that killed 17 students in Parkland, Fla.

Astor, an expert on school vioence and bullying, is a professor of school behavioral health at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and the USC Rossier School of Education.

Contact:, or (213) 740-0296, or (818) 613-3459

The end of the era of globalization

With the rise of nationalist leaders such as Trump, experts are predicting the end of an era of globalization. Even so, countries around the world are calling upon the United States to maintain its leadership on issues such as the United Nations’ Paris agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

Shannon Gibson, a USC Dornsife College assistant professor of international relations, can discuss issues and trends with globalization and international climate change policy.

Contact: or (786) 683-5708

Gov. Jerry Brown calls for funding the bullet train

Genevieve Giuliano can discuss transportation policy, including the California bullet train project, which Gov. Brown is asking the Trump administration to fund.

Giuliano is the director of the METRANS Transportation Center and a professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy.

Contact: or (213) 740-3956

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