Newsom admits to mistakes in pandemic response but insists recall effort driven by politics

Lockdown-loving Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is likely facing a recall election later this year, has reportedly admitted that he made some mistakes in the state’s COVID-19 response with the benefit of hindsight. The effort to unseat him is nonetheless misguided in his view because it is being orchestrated by his political foes.

The Democrat was somewhat vague in identifying precisely what mistakes to which he was referring during a brief, softball interview with San Francisco public broadcaster KQED. He seemingly alluded to the public deserving a better explanation about the austere restrictions on businesses, schools, and individuals that he imposed and the changes that occurred to those guidelines along the way.

In a deflection, Newsom insisted, however, that the trajectory for the grassroots recall is unrelated to the pandemic.

“It’s about immigration. It’s about our healthcare policies. It’s about our criminal justice reform. It’s about the diversity of the state. It’s about our clean air, clean water programs, meeting our environmental strategies. So they were crystal clear what this is about,” the governor insisted, citing the progressive wish list that appears to be a precursor for the political talking points he will use to try to fend off the presumptive recall.

Newsom, who recently criticized some other governors for lifting a statewide mask mandate, has previously been perceived as lifting some of restrictions on businesses once the recall became a serious challenge to his political viability.

The Newsom recall effort gained tremendous traction with a broad cross-section of the state population beyond just Republicans or Republican-leaners after the governor was caught violating his own stay-at-home rules by partying maskless with lobbyists at an upscale eatery in northern California. Newsom is one of many Democrats around the country who were seen flouting their own guidelines.

In the KQED interview, the governor — who common sense suggests has national ambitions — reportedly conceded that he regretted this blunder.

“That’s those things you can never get back. And, you know, I owned up to that. And no one hid it from that. And that was a mistake. Crystal clear,” he said.

California law requires 1.5 million valid petition signatures to trigger a recall election. Organizers say they have already gathered about 500,000 more than they need in advance of the March 17 deadline. If enough signatures pass muster in the verification process, the recall will go forward later this year.

In casting their ballots, voters — in a state run completely by Democrats and where ballot harvesting in legal — could decide to keep Newsom in office, rather than remove him, however, in the special election.

“On the issue of school reopenings, Newsom said that about 9,000 of the state’s roughly 11,000 schools are either open now or have a ‘firm date’ to reopen, and that the billions of dollars in state and federal aid recently approved should help ensure that schools can offer summer programs and other supplemental learning to make up for lost time,” KQED added.

The far-left Untied Teachers of Los Angeles has still refused to return to the in-person classroom instruction, however.

Newsom probably didn’t win many potential votes, be that Democrat, Republican, or independent, when he announced in his State of the State address last week that California life will never get back to normal in the post-pandemic scenario.

“Normal was never good enough. Normal accepts inequity,” he asserted in touting so-called economic justice along with vaccine equity.

Newsom critics would likely argue that this form of pandering suggests that the still out-of-touch governor remains unaware that residents of the once Golden Staten from all backgrounds and walks of life just want to go back to work and to school.

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Robert Jonathan

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