(CN) – California Governor Jerry Brown continued his critical assault on the Trump administration and its policies on Thursday while telling Chinese representatives that the Golden State remains open for business.
“A trade war is stupid,” Brown said in remarks given at an all-day economic summit focusing on enhancing business ties between China and California held Thursday in Beverly Hills.
Brown never referred to President Donald Trump by name during his remarks, but his oblique references to the president drew periodic laughter as he jabbed an administration he considers to be backward-looking in its economic approach.
“This too will pass,” Brown said. “I’m not going to tell you what I am referring to, but this too will pass.”
Brown talked about the importance of being globally competitive while stressing fairness and a more collaborative approach to ironing out trade differences.
“Globalization is here and we’re not going to get rid of it,” Brown said. “There is no part of this world that we can vilify, stigmatize and avoid.”
Brown drew sharp distinctions between his views of global commerce and the perspectives held by the White House, where Trump has staked out his America First policy.
The governor’s views aligned with a more traditionally conservative take on the global free market when he said “if you’re not competitive, get more competitive.”
But Brown also drew sharp distinctions between California and Washington as it relates to the environment, pleading with attendees to look beyond profit margins at the bigger picture.
“We’re linked together by the climate,” Brown said. “If we degrade the climate that will create great hardships in China and California.”
The governor also said global threats like the proliferation of nuclear weapons, biological weapons and other existential threats mean nations must collaborate to solve problems.
“We can’t be like human beings have always been – starting wars or thinking your own country or race is the best,” Brown said. “We have to rise above these conflicts and parochialisms.”
Brown said the spirit of open trade and commerce can help alleviate conflict and pave the way for a more harmonious, albeit competitive, global landscape.
But true to form, Brown didn’t express that optimism without getting in a jab.
“Things have great potential,” he said. “All you need is a great leader.”