California Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a sea of lockdown-hungry Democrats, has been second only to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer when it comes to exercising his (real or imagined) power over his constituents during the pandemic. But say what you will about Whitmer – and there is plenty to say – she at least appears to walk the walk. No one has caught her strolling through a closed hair salon with her mask down around her neck or inviting folks down to Chinatown for a big street party. At least not yet.
Then there’s Newsom. Earlier this month, the Democratic governor was caught attending a birthday party at exclusive Yountville restaurant The French Laundry. It wasn’t long before Newsom’s excuses and lies caught up to him. First, the deal was supposed to be that the party was outdoors and everyone was observing social distancing. Then, the story was that there were only a handful of guests. But as journalist Adam Housley reported, these were not in line with the facts.
“Because Yountville is my hometown…and where the French Laundry is located…I thought I’d do some digging. Facts about the Newsom dinner. The bar bill was around 15-thousand. 22 people in attendance, not 12. No masks. All indoors. They got so loud, other patrons complained,” Housley tweeted.
“There was ‘zero effort’ to go outside and there was no social distancing of any type. I’m also told some of those there are now privately laughing at the controversy. Remember this is my little hometown. The walls speak,” he continued.
In a statement apologizing for his terrible judgement and hypocritical behavior, Newsom said, “I want to apologize to you because I need to preach and practice, not just preach and not practice, and I’ve done my best to do that. We’re all human. We all fall short sometimes.
“As soon as I sat down at the larger table I realized it was a little larger group than I had anticipated and I made a bad mistake,” he explained. “Instead of sitting down, I should have stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove back to my house.”
Newsom’s critics are hoping that this particular bad mistake may cost him his job. A judge this week gave the group Rescue California a 120-day extension, during which they can continue to collect signatures for a recall movement against the governor.
“It makes all the difference in the world for us,” said Tom Del Beccaro, the head of the group. “So now we have an extended life, and we’re not competing with the [presidential] election anymore.”
His co-chair, Tony Krvaric, said that Rescue California was built to “recall Governor Gavin Newsom, holding him accountable for his erratic leadership and stunning hypocrisy in this crisis. Californians deserve better and we invite everyone to join in this effort.”
The group must collect 1.5 million signatures by March to achieve their goal. If Newsom keeps it up with “do as I say, not as I do” nonsense like this birthday dinner, that may not be all that difficult.