A small contingent of California reporters traveled with the governor while dozens of Salvadoran journalists swarmed him at nearly every public stop on his itinerary.
Newsom said the trip was intended to assert California's leadership and push back on Trump.
"He's doing what he's doing because he's incentivized for bad behavior," Newsom said of the president. "He knows exactly what he's doing. He's ginning up his base. And it's working for him."
The governor added that he wanted to offer an alternative to "just standing there at the border raging against Trump's tweet" -- a strategy of other Democrats that Newsom implied isn't working.
"If we want to succeed we have to continue to play in that frame or we can change the rules of the game, and I think this is part and parcel of that," Newsom said.
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