California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is not offering any more apologies for his visit to the French Laundry restaurant last year, in defiance of his own coronavirus guidelines, nor is he offering any changes on the eve of a Sep. 14 recall election.
In an interview this weekend with the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsom said that his apology for the French Laundry incident last November should suffice, and suggested the recall was driven by political opponents, not his own failures.
The Chronicle pointed out several key areas in which Newsom has failed, and which have driven enthusiasm for the recall: the French Laundry hypocrisy, the prolonged school closures, the initial failure of the vaccine rollout, and the failure to clear forests ahead of wildfire season (Newsom vastly exaggerated the progress made on his watch).
The newspaper failed to mention crime, which has skyrocketed across the state amid Newsom and Democrats’ criminal justice “reforms.”
Newsom defended his early shutdown of the state, however, and touted his progress on homelessness, a major source of public frustration with his administration. Newsom’s Project Turnkey has spent billions of dollars to turn private hotels into de facto homeless shelters, though its long-term effects are still unclear, and it could entice more homeless to the state.
The governor has not announced any changes in his policies in response to the recall, though shrewd observers note that it was only once the recall was a real threat that Newsom pushed for schools to reopen. Moreover, he has not reintroduced the state’s old coronavirus color system, and has probably deferred water restrictions until after the election.
In addition, the Chronicle noted that Newsom thinks he deserves additional credit for his early apology for the French Laundry incident:
The party helped breathe new life into the recall drive against the first-term Democrat and has provided endless fodder for the candidates seeking to replace him. Even as public polling indicates that Newsom should defeat the election this week in a landslide, more than half of Californians — including a third of Democrats — recently said they see the governor as someone who believes he is above his own rules.
Newsom thinks he deserves a bit more credit.
“I made a mistake, and I recognized it. A lot of folks don’t even acknowledge mistakes, and we did that,” he told The Chronicle in an interview Saturday, after a campaign rally in Oakland with volunteers from local unions.
To his mind, his public apology three days after The Chronicle broke the news of the party was his fresh start. His leadership through the past 10 months has been making the case to Californians that he still deserves their trust.
The Washington Post recently visited the French Laundry, noting that it costs $350 per person (before wine) and requires reservations at least one month in advance. The Post described it as the perfect microcosm of California, symbolizing the vast inequality that has continued to grow under policies that sound egalitarian, but which only the wealthy can afford.
Newsom would likely be replaced by conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, above right, who has led polls among rivals.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.