Newsom: Win shows Democrats should 'stiffen our spines' on COVID-19 measures

Newsom: Win shows Democrats should 'stiffen our spines' on COVID-19 measures

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia faces flash flood watches amid 'Bomb Cyclone' and 'Atmospheric River' Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Ivory poaching changes evolution of elephants California regulator proposes ban on oil drilling near schools, hospitals, homes MORE (D) is pointing to his victory in Tuesday’s recall election as evidence that voters want Democrats to pursue more stringent measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 

Asked in an interview with CBS News what his recall win means for Democrats, Newsom said it proved “that we need to stiffen our spines and lean in to keeping people safe and healthy.”

“Don't be timid. Lean in,” he said. “Because at the end of the day, it's not just about formal authority of setting the tone and tenor on masks — on vaccines and masks. But it's the moral authority that we have: that we're on the right side of history and we're doing the right thing to save people's lives.”

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Newsom’s remarks came after Californians easily rejected a Republican-led effort to recall him from the governor’s mansion. With roughly 75 percent of the vote counted as of Thursday morning, election results showed nearly two-thirds of California voters opposing the recall.

Newsom’s victory wasn’t unexpected, given Democrats’ massive voter registration advantage in California and the fact that recent polls showed the governor surviving the effort to remove him by a double-digit margin. 

Still, Democrats have touted the resounding victory as a sign that voters are supportive of the party’s aggressive efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 through measures like vaccine and mask mandates. 

Last week, President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Methane fee faces negotiations White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege The No Surprises Act:  a bill long overdue MORE announced a sweeping plan to push some two-thirds of American workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. That includes requiring companies with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccinations. 

The recall in California was motivated in no small part by Newsom’s response to the pandemic over the past 18 months, with critics seizing on the governor’s strict measures to drive enthusiasm for ousting him  something that Newsom himself acknowledged to CBS News on Wednesday. 

“I was recalled to no small degree because of our approach to this pandemic,” he said.