On March 16, I gave a speech in the State Assembly asking that we put partisanship aside and trust our Governor’s leadership in a moment of crisis. In the weeks since, Governor Newsom has repeatedly abused that trust and put politics front and center.
The Sacramento Bee just called him “Gov. Gaslight” because he’s “making announcements that turn out to be half-baked” and giving “reporters a reason to be much more skeptical of what he says.” This from a paper that strongly endorsed him for Governor.
At yesterday’s press conference, Gov. Newsom flatly denied he had considered closing all state beaches, even though state police announced this was exactly what he was planning. Politico reported within hours that the Governor’s statement was false.
When Gov. Newsom appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show to announce a $1 billion deal with China’s disreputable BYD Company, he tried to conceal the source, claiming he’d secured the masks “through a manufacturer here in the State of California.” Asked to confirm they’d be made in California, he admitted “they’ll be manufactured overseas.”
The Governor’s headline-grabbing announcement that Elon Musk had donated 1,000 ventilators turned out not to be true. His news-making suggestion that Sleep Train Arena had been donated left out the $500,000 per month cost to taxpayers.
The Sacramento Bee noted that Gov. Newsom has frequently “hurried to get in front of the TV cameras without worrying about the details.” And the New York Times observed that his attempts to get national press coverage are interfering with policymaking – a complaint of legislators in both parties last year.
At the peak of the health threat, the Governor openly stated he would use the crisis to advance his political agenda, calling it an “opportunity for reimagining a more progressive era” and an “opportunity to reshape how we govern.”
A week later, he appointed the most partisan person in America, Tom Steyer, to head the state’s Economic Recovery Commission. Even before his failed presidential run, Steyer spent more money than anyone on partisan political causes.
The Governor has also veered from the truth in order to help the special interests that put him in office. After I personally gave him a 200-page book of stories from people whose livelihoods were destroyed by AB 5, he made one of the most stunning statements in California political history: “I’m not sure those jobs were killed.”
Meanwhile, the Governor has aggrandized his own role in relation not only to the rest of the country – declaring California a “Nation State” – but also to the Legislature, which he falsely called the “second of three branches.” These issues of credibility have real consequences for public health and our economic recovery. The Governor needs to stop looking for political opportunities and start being honest with the people of California