Biden stumps for Newsom on eve of recall
President Biden on Monday made a closing case for California voters to reject a recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), warning a “Trump clone” could replace him if the effort succeeds.
Biden rallied alongside Newsom in Long Beach, Calif., on the eve of the recall vote. The president warned hundreds of supporters that a recall would have catastrophic consequences for the pandemic, climate change, workers rights and the treatment of women.
“California, I’m not sure you know it, but if you didn’t know it you should. The eyes of the nation — this is not hyperbole — the eyes of the nation are on California,” Biden said.
Introducing Biden, Newsom took repeated shots at Republican candidate Larry Elder, a conservative radio host who has emerged from a pack of GOP contenders as the leading potential replacement should the recall succeed.
Biden never explicitly named Elder, but the president repeatedly compared him to former President Trump, calling him “the closest thing to a Trump clone that I’ve ever seen in your state.”
“You either keep Gavin Newsom as your governor or you’ll get Donald Trump,” Biden said. “It’s not a joke. A Republican governor blocking progress on COVID-19 who is also anti-woman, anti-worker, a climate denier, who doesn’t believe in choice. The choice should be absolutely clear.”
A University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times and released last week showed 60 percent of California voters would reject the recall, while just 39 percent say they will support removing Newsom from office.
That gap has widened substantially since late July, when just 50 percent said they would vote to retain Newsom and 47 percent said they would vote to oust him a year before his term expires.
Biden became the latest Democratic leader to campaign for Newsom. The governor has appeared in recent days alongside Vice President Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Former President Obama recorded a video message in support of Newsom for the campaign.
California voters first must vote on the question of whether to recall Newsom, who has been targeted by Republicans over pandemic policies in particular. If a majority of voters vote “yes,” Newsom will be recalled and the candidate receiving the highest percentage of votes will become the next governor.
The president on Monday urged California Democrats to turn out in force and not take the result for granted in a state where registered Democrats widely outnumber registered Republicans.
Millions of voters have already cast ballots via early voting and mail-in voting, leading to questions over why Biden waited until the last possible day to visit California in support of Newsom.
“The president of the United States … they do several things at the same time,” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters earlier Monday. “But I’m not going to go into any reasoning why he’s going now instead of two, three weeks ago.”
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