California Governor Gavin Newsom has said criticism of California’s tough COVID-19 restrictions was valid and he would have taken an entirely different approach, given what he knows now about the pandemic. Politico has the story.
“I think we would’ve done everything differently,” Newsom said in a taped interview set to air on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ Sunday.
“I think all of us in terms of our collective wisdom, we’ve evolved. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. We’re experts in hindsight. We’re all geniuses now.”
Later in the interview Newsom responded to criticism of his state’s decisions by saying: “All of it’s legitimate in terms of reflection.”
Host Chuck Todd pressed the California Democrat on specifics, including whether Newsom and state officials were too accommodating to the film industry during periods of strict distancing requirements where Californians were prevented, for example, from gathering for family funerals. “I think there’s a lot of humility. And we didn’t know what we didn’t know. And it was hardly I; it was we, collectively,” Newsom responded.
Newsom faced considerable anger in his state during the pandemic, including a recall attempt fueled by partisans but also frustrated business owners and parents who felt like the state acted too cautiously and refused to loosen up even as other states did. Nationally, he’s taken heat from the likes of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, now a Republican presidential candidate, who has leaned into comparing his state’s more lax approach over the duration of the pandemic with Newsom’s stricter, longer, guidelines.
Despite considerable prodding from Todd on specifics where Newsom would have made different decisions in his hard-hit state, including the protracted closure of in-person learning at schools, the Governor largely kept to generalities.
Worth reading in full.
With few specifics and still a suggestion from the host that one mistake was being lenient with Hollywood, it’s hardly the clear repudiation of lockdownism we would like. In fact, as a plainly political move now the public mood is shifting, I have no doubt Newsom would be right back locking Californians down hard should the public mood shift again in the face of a new viral ‘threat’.
But still, the more renounce their lockdownism at this point the better, even if only for political reasons, as it will help with the uphill struggle of ensuring shut downs aren’t permanently embedded in future responses.