Biden Admin Weighs In On California Recall Effort, Takes Gov. Newsom’s Side
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03, 2020 - - California Governor Gavin Newsom is interviewed while visiting the Hot and Cool Cafe in Leimert Park after several days of protest in Los Angeles on June 3, 2020.
Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The White House weighed in on a burgeoning recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom Wednesday, backing the embattled Democrat.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that President Joe Biden “opposes any effort” to remove Newsom from office, despite questions over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Biden opposes efforts to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the White House said Tuesday, as a push to do so picks up steam among the governor’s critics,” according to The Hill.

“In addition to sharing a commitment to a range of issues with @GavinNewsom from addressing the climate crisis to getting the pandemic under control, @POTUS clearly opposes any effort to recall @GavinNewsom,” Psaki tweeted.

Psaki was asked whether Biden would weigh in on Newsom’s side Tuesday, and as is common during White House briefings now, Psaki said she would circle back with reporters once she had a definitive answer from the president.

“Newsom is facing mounting pressure to defend his job as a group, led by retired Yolo County Deputy Sheriff Orrin Heatlie, says it has collected more than 1.3 million signatures of their goal of 2 million they hope to turn in by March 17 to force a recall election,” The Hill added, noting that the recall effort has both serious financial backing and significant support.

CNN reported earlier this month that Newsom appears to be in trouble.

“[T]he efforts to recall him gained oxygen over the holiday months as the virus raged out of control in California — with case numbers dipping only recently,” the outlet reported. “There have now been more than 3.3 million cases in a state of nearly 40 million people and schools are still closed — making the former San Francisco mayor a viable target for those who are angry and frustrated about the limited supply of vaccine coming from the federal government, which is so insufficient that the state epidemiologist said last month that they may not be able to vaccinate the majority of those 65 and older until June. The state’s seven-day positivity rate had dropped to 5.8% on Friday.”

California quickly became the epicenter of the second COVID-19 wave to strike the United States. But in addition to concerns that Newsom’s government failed to control the spread of the coronavirus, California residents are angry over what they believe is a haphazard approach to coronavirus mitigation, forcing continued lockdowns and crushing California’s economy with restrictions — restrictions he, himself, failed to follow.

Political calculus outlet FiveThirtyEight reported this week that Newsom is likely to face a recall effort, and the outcome could be close. Just 52% of Californians approve of the job Newsom is doing, down from more than 60% in May of last year. FiveThirtyEight does point out, however, that most recall efforts are unsuccessful, and Newsom likely comes into his with a favorable voter landscape.

“Democrats pull in notably larger statewide vote shares: Last November, President Biden garnered 63 percent in the Golden State after Hillary Clinton won 61 percent in 2016. Newsom also won far more support in his 2018 election win (62 percent) than Davis did in 2002 (47 percent).1 Correspondingly, far fewer Californians call themselves Republicans now,” the outlet said. “Just before the 2020 election, 46 percent of California voters were registered as Democrats while just 24 percent were registered as Republicans.”

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