Sep 19, 2023

Gavin Newsom’s Full Exclusive Interview With CNN Transcript

Gavin Newsom's Full Exclusive Interview With CNN Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsGavin NewsomeGavin Newsom’s Full Exclusive Interview With CNN Transcript

In a wide-ranging interview, California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks with CNN’s Dana Bash about topics ranging from the climate crisis to the 2024 presidential election. Read the transcript here.

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Interviewer (00:01):

We’re here in New York and there are world leaders gathered to talk about a lot of issues, but climate is one of them. So I want to start about your lawsuit against the five oil giants for misleading the public on fossil fuels. The American Petroleum Institute already is pushing back, calling it meritless, politicized and a waste of California taxpayer resources. What do you say to that?

Gavin Newsom (00:24):

They should be ashamed of themselves. They’re one of the people we named in the lawsuit. They’ve been lying to people. They’ve been playing you and everybody watching us like fools. They’ve had information that none of us were privy to. In fact, in the creation of this lawsuit, in the production of this lawsuit, I realized how ignorant I was on the issue. Back in the fifties, they had fundamental data and information that was not shared with the American people. They knowingly misled people, they deceived people. As a consequence, we didn’t take the kind of actions we would’ve taken to hold these big polluters accountable, and right now we’re dealing with the consequences of it. As we convene here with the United Nations and Climate Week in New York City, we broke 10,000 records around the world. The climate is in deep distress. Ask the folks out in California, every single one of them, Democrats and Republicans would agree. They may not agree on global warming, climate science, but their own eyes, their lived experience.

Interviewer (01:17):

The oil companies, are you saying that for years, the government relied on them to supply their own data and the consequences?

Gavin Newsom (01:25):

No. They funded science, they funded research with precision and accuracy…

Interviewer (01:30):

But why did the government…

Gavin Newsom (01:31):

They did not share that information. They lied to people.

Interviewer (01:32):

They lied to people?

Gavin Newsom (01:34):

They lied to people, knowingly lied to people. They suppressed that data and that information. They shared it. They shared it within companies. They may be competitors, but baseline information was shared. It is completely analogous to the tobacco companies. In fact, in this complaint, in our lawsuit, we lay out they’re dead to right, that they recognized their vulnerability and legal liability as it relates to their deceit in lies and they were concerned about those tobacco settlements, and they began a process of greenwashing and manipulating and lying to the American people. And we could have been advancing low carbon green growth strategies, we could have been changing the way we produce and consume energy decades and decades ago. We’d be in a completely different place had it not been for them.

Interviewer (02:16):

It doesn’t seem like it was a big secret that fossil fuels weren’t great for the environment though. Why is it their fault?

Gavin Newsom (02:21):

In the 1950s and ’60s because they had a product that was destroying the planet, that was exacerbating conditions. The hots now much hotter than they’ve ever been, dry is dryer, wet is wetter. They’re culpable for their responsibility in terms of perpetuating these lies, for misleading the American people, meaning lying to consumers, lying to all of us, including policy makers, and as a consequence, delaying the progress in the implementation to strategies to address these issues.

Interviewer (02:47):

Real quick, what’s your goal?

Gavin Newsom (02:48):

Accountability. It’s fairness. We’re all paying the price. You’re paying the price. I’m an old-fashioned guy. If you’re responsible for creating problems, you have to be accountable and you have to be responsible for solving those problems. Polluters pollute and they should be accountable for their pollution.

Interviewer (03:05):

You’ve seen a lot of disasters just even in this year, some unprecedented, tropical storm, the first one in your state of California in decades, wildfires in Hawaii. Should President Biden declare a climate emergency?

Gavin Newsom (03:18):

That’s nomenclature. I think he’s done it in terms of action and passion. I mean, there’s no other president in our lifetime that’s done more on clean energy, period, full stop. $369 billion just in the IRA, but also…

Interviewer (03:32):

But some [inaudible 00:03:32] of government would kick in if that were the…

Gavin Newsom (03:36):

Nominally. $1.2 trillion of tax credits. We’re seeing hundreds of billions of dollars in investments in real time. He’s moving aggressively in different direction. California $52 billion. I don’t need the president to call it a climate emergency for California at a sub-national level to try to lead, we’re doing that with $52 billion climate commitment. I think that’s a lot, there’s some atmospherics to that. And I understand there’s legal consequences to that as well.

Interviewer (04:00):


Gavin Newsom (04:01):

But I think in terms of his actions and the substance that he’s delivering to address this issue, the challenge is we can’t do it alone. Just think about this, there are five countries in the world responsible for 60% of the global emissions. Unless we get serious about our relationship to China, as an example, and to Russia and Japan, we have to focus from a global perspective, but I think we need to break it down and really focus on these big five. That’s a big part of the conversation we’re having here in New York at the United Nations. But I think there’s no more important relationship as it relates to this climate emergency and the climate crisis than one, the fact that the climate crisis is a fossil fuel crisis and holding big oil accountable. Number two, addressing the relationship on climate with China as the most important essential relationship to address this issue.

Interviewer (04:49):

But let me just quickly ask you about that because I know you’re traveling there. Is China a country that could even be trusted as a partner or even as an actor on climate issues?

Gavin Newsom (04:59):

Well, divorce is not an option. I mean, they’re all better off and we’re all better off. We’re breathing the same air they’re breathing in California. I mean, at the end of the day, there’s the commons. And I think it’s in everyone’s interest, it’s certainly in the interest of the folks in China, you’ve seen what they’ve done in terms of cleaning the air in places like Beijing and Shanghai. They recognize their opportunity from an economic perspective. They’re the dominant engine on electric vehicles. California, by the way, it’s 56 manufactured EV companies in our state and it’s one of our biggest exports. But I think it’s in everyone’s interest to advance strategies to change the way we produce and consume energy.

Interviewer (05:35):

I want to talk about what’s going on with labor, starting with the UAW strike. It’s a historic strike against the big three automakers in the US. We’re now on day four.

Gavin Newsom (05:44):


Interviewer (05:45):

Workers are demanding a 40% raise and a four-day work week. Do you support the strike and are those demands reasonable?

Gavin Newsom (05:57):

I support the workers and I support a construct that has to be resolved. I think it was Plutarch who said the imbalance between the rich and the poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics. We have to address that fundamental gap.

Interviewer (06:09):

So yes, you support the strikers.

Gavin Newsom (06:10):

Absolutely. I absolutely support the workers in the strike, strikers, but for fundamental reasons. But also, it’s about fairness. It wasn’t that many years ago, it wasn’t the black and white movie days that they took pay cuts, they took concessions, as we, the American people, taxpayers bailed out these corporations. Now, they’re enjoying record profits. I mean, I think the American people overwhelmingly supportive of those workers as it relates to the details of the negotiations. I do enough labor negotiation, not to opine what’s been presented in public, but obviously all of us want to see this worked through quickly.

Interviewer (06:44):

Another strike, the Writer’s Guild, SAG.

Gavin Newsom (06:49):


Interviewer (06:49):

This has been going on for months now.

Gavin Newsom (06:51):


Interviewer (06:51):

In Hollywood, in your home state.

Gavin Newsom (06:53):


Interviewer (06:53):

These are your constituents.

Gavin Newsom (06:54):


Interviewer (06:54):

This is a very important industry, and your state experts estimate that the strike already cost $ 5 billion.

Gavin Newsom (07:02):

Probably more.

Interviewer (07:03):

From your state’s economy?

Gavin Newsom (07:04):

Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer (07:06):

Number one, I don’t believe you’ve been out in the picket line, have you?

Gavin Newsom (07:09):

I’ve been deeply involved. In fact, was talking to the WGA and members of the studios over the last week. We’re going to be meeting later this week. I’m in a different position as it relates to trying to be constructive on both sides.

Interviewer (07:21):


Gavin Newsom (07:21):

To utilize the formal authority I have as governor, the convening capacity I have as governor, the moral authority to the extent I can bring it into the conversation to try to get everybody to the table. That’s the work I do in state to address the issue of not just public sector disputes, which I deal with often, but private sector disputes. I’m encouraged by the conversations over this last weekend, I’m not going to overstate that, and I’m encouraged that they’re meeting again later this week.

Interviewer (07:51):

You support the UAW in their strike, but you don’t want to go that far when it comes to the Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild?

Gavin Newsom (07:59):

No, that’s the same question. Absolutely support what their concerns are and I support WGA and SAG as it relates to their existential stress as it relates to streaming and how it’s radically changing the business model, as it relates to artificial intelligence. One thing I know about artificial intelligence is we don’t know what we don’t know, and that anxiety stacked upon all the stress and anxiety that we’ve all been feeling around income and wealth disparities and all the challenges post pandemic that we’ve gone through makes the perfect stew of stress that’s leading to a lot of the anxiety that we’re experiencing all across the country, not just at SAG and WGA as it relates to that expression of a strike or UAW, but you’re seeing it at Starbucks, you’re seeing it more broadly as labor’s exercising more muscle out of more fear and stress about the world we’re living in.

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think fundamentally, that’s a good thing. I believe in collective bargaining. I believe working families and the working poor do better when they organize together. And in California, I don’t know there’s a state in our nation, not a state in the nation that does more to support that

Gavin Newsom (09:00):

… framework and those bargaining units.

Interviewer (09:01):

There is a bill on your desk that would give unemployment benefits to California workers who are on strike.

Gavin Newsom (09:08):


Interviewer (09:08):

Will you sign it?

Gavin Newsom (09:09):

Wouldn’t impact the WGA and SAG goes in effect next year.

Interviewer (09:13):

Will you sign it?

Gavin Newsom (09:14):

I’m looking at that bill. I’ve got literally a thousand bills on my desk. I made one exception at Climate Week where I opined about a bill that just landed on my desk because we were at Climate Week to launch the week related to climate disclosure. But as it relates to UI, there’s a complicating factors. That’s not a solution. I want to make this clear again to the SAG and WGA because it doesn’t go in effect. Prospectively, it goes in effect in January, and there’s unique situation as it relates to the UI fund in terms of unfunded liability, which is north of $18 billion. So, we’ll take a look at that, but I want folks to understand that’s not a direct correlate … It has no direct correlation to what’s happening.

Interviewer (09:54):

I don’t think everybody does understand that.

Gavin Newsom (09:55):

That’s why I’m proud and honored at this moment to be able to express that. So people do.

Interviewer (10:01):

That’s very important. You mentioned this, that it’s the UAW, it’s Writer’s Guild, it’s Screen Actors Guild. You have the potential for a strike with Kaiser healthcare workers in your state. It does seem to be a very big movement. Labor is flexing its muscle.

Gavin Newsom (10:23):

Yeah. Again, about time, I mean, my gosh. I mean, I grew up … I mean, we’ve watched the demotion of particularly public sector unions, private sector, notably, I think that had already been substantially diminished in my lifetime, and this is an important time for people to come together and express themselves. It’s not sustainable. The income and wealth disparities are not sustainable. Our capacity to live together and advance together is directly impacted by these disparities, and our politics is being shaped by them as well. Populous movements rising left and right. People are frustrated and angry. They think things are rigged

Interviewer (10:56):

As a proud Democrat, as a supporter of President Biden and his reelection, the frustration being expressed like this among people in the workforce, labor unions, is that a warning sign?

Gavin Newsom (11:11):

But it’s been a trendline for decades, and it’s a headline-

Interviewer (11:16):

Wow. But I’m talking about even-

Gavin Newsom (11:16):

… in the last few weeks and few years. I mean, this is by no means anomalous. These are well-established trendlines. This president knew that. He campaigned on this. Scranton Joe, no one with a better record on some of these issues. Not rhetorical, substantive record, voting record in the Senate, a leader on these issues. He’s had a great labor record. He has moral authority, not just in the position of president with his formal authority. And so none of this I think is surprising.

Interviewer (11:44):

It’s surprising, but I mean, yes, there has been discontent for decades and it’s been growing, particularly when you look at the middle class, which you’re right, the president talks about. But even just over the past few months, the fact that unions and workers, they’ve had it and they’re frustrated with-

Gavin Newsom (12:04):


Interviewer (12:05):

… their inability to buy basic things, to buy houses and so forth, that’s not a warning sign for Democrats?

Gavin Newsom (12:10):

No. I said it’s been a trend line for years. It is a headline, so by definition, but it’s not just a warning sign for Democrats. It’s not a warning sign for democracy. Fundamentally, it’s just not sustainable unless people feel included and their voices are being heard and they have more choice in the workplace. And by the way, it’s not unique in the United States. This is being expressed all around the rest of the globe. So there’s an inevitability to this. Also, forgive me, there’s a routinization around this. I mean, we’re dealing with stripes all the time, school board issues and union nations. We’re dealing with private sectors you suggest in the healthcare sector. But no, what’s happening now is notable and consequential because there’s an organized discontent that is growing, and it’s massing in a way that I think is very powerful, and it’s a very powerful moment, and again, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that’s been paying attention.

Interviewer (13:05):

I want to talk about that as it relates to the headwinds that President Biden is facing when it comes to the perception, the gap, as you call it, between how people think the economy is doing and how people feel the economy is doing. It is true unemployment is near all-time lows-

Gavin Newsom (13:22):


Interviewer (13:23):

And inflation is back under 4%.

Gavin Newsom (13:24):

[inaudible 00:13:26].

Interviewer (13:26):

Interest rates are high. Gas prices are rising again, and the bottom line is the majority of Americans just don’t feel good about the way things are. Is this just a messaging problem, or is there more fundamental problems than that?

Gavin Newsom (13:43):

Look, we’ve dealt with … We’ve been polarized and traumatized over the last five or six years. I don’t think [inaudible 00:13:51] have given us time to take a deep breath and reflect on it. What we’re experiencing is not unique in the United States at all. I mean, it’s a global phenomenon. The issues of COVID and the stress it created, the supply chain impacts, what happened with the invasion in Ukraine, the impacts with OPEC+ in particular, another reason we needed off the dependency of fossil fuels, all of those things stack up at this moment, but directionally, this president is performing. I mean, we’re seeing inflation down roughly two-thirds, just shy of two-thirds since its peak. That’s a directionally very positive sign. The lowest unemployment for blacks, Hispanics, and disabled, 70-year lows for women in this country. I mean, with all due respect, the Republican Party, it can point the finger and say, could have been better, it could be better. They offer nothing in terms of alternative strategies to make it so. So I’m very proud of this President.

Directionally, we’re saying it with industrial policy, manufacturing investment, over half a trillion dollars of private sector investment. If Trump had a quarter of that, that’s all we’d be hearing every single day of the week. So I think he’s done extraordinarily well and with respect to those that identify, oh, wait, well, we have cumulative inflation, meaning eggs are more expensive than they were three years ago and gas prices are up, that’s absolutely true, and it’s also not unique to the United States. What is though unique is the absolute inability for one party, the Republican Party, to do anything substantively about it.

They’re more interested in Hunter Biden right now and a laptop. They’re more interested in impeachment in a government shutdown than they are about putting real solutions to address those issues on the table. They simply don’t have a plan.

Interviewer (15:26):

But you know how it works. Joe Biden is the president, and so the expectation and the referendum is on the incumbent. Is there a danger in telling people what the stats are and making them feel like they shouldn’t feel as bad as they do?

Gavin Newsom (15:43):

No, I think you have to … I mean, you got to feel people’s pain. You’ve got to acknowledge that. That’s why I began talking about how traumatized and polarized we’ve been. I’ve been talking about that stacking of stress, and I’ve been talking about the distress people are feeling and that sense of dislocation, disequilibrium, this notion that we are more disconnected in our politics. You see it on the nightly news. That stress and frustration that we haven’t come to grips with, all of that’s real, and I think that is making it more challenging. So one cannot deny that.

At the same time, you can’t deny the facts in terms of the policies. This administration is successfully advanced, not the rhetoric, not the assertions, but the paradigms that proving in terms of change.

Interviewer (16:27):

There is something else that Americans are concerned about. A new CBS news poll shows only one-third of American voters think that Joe Biden will stay in office through a second term. I know you are downplaying concerns about his age, but do you believe that voters don’t have any reason to be concerned that he would be 86 years old by the end of a second period?

Gavin Newsom (16:49):

Voters have every right to be concerned, but maybe a little … I remember Bobby Kennedy said it best said, “What the world needs are the qualities of youth, not a time of life, but a state of mind.” A quality of imagination. I mean, I couldn’t imagine three years ago that this president could accomplish so much in such a short period of time. I mean that. If this political season is all about a celebrity, with all due respect, we had a celebrity for four years, it didn’t go well, and so I want a seasoned pro that knows how to get things done. I’m a little old-fashioned. I want a guy who produces results, and the results are in. It’s been a masterclass. There’s simply no administration in my lifetime that’s been more effective, producing more substantive results, that Science and CHIPS Act, the investments that we’re making, historic investments in infrastructure. I’m seeing it firsthand, and the American people are starting to experience it, and that’s what we get to do.

Here’s the point: It’s what we get to do in a campaign, and we haven’t even started the campaign. This reelect is just-

Interviewer (17:49):

And you think he’s going to be able to convince the American people that he has the vitality to handle a second term?

Gavin Newsom (17:57):

It’s about bringing a team together. That’s his job and responsibility

Gavin Newsom (18:00):

… responsibility as the head of our party, but it’s not just about one guy or girl on the white horse that’s going to come save the day for everybody. It’s a responsibility of the entire party. I was with members of the party in Chicago a couple days ago at the DNC. It’s our collective responsibility at all levels of government, city council members, county supervisors, mayors, governors, all of us to make the case, certainly members of Congress, to celebrate the successes of the administration and promote the promises of tomorrow. And I think the great opportunity for the Biden administration and for the president himself is to paint a picture of a brighter tomorrow and address these legitimate anxieties the American people are feeling and make the case for a second term, not just the case for the success of the first.

Interviewer (18:43):

I’m sure you saw David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist whom the president-

Gavin Newsom (18:46):

A legend. He’s a legend, David.

Interviewer (18:49):

Well, that legend said that President Biden shouldn’t run for reelection, “I think Biden risks undoing his greatest achievement, which was stopping Trump.”

Gavin Newsom (18:59):

Yeah, that’s his opinion, and I have deep respect, a legend in the business and someone many people follow and that’s gotten plenty of coverage and we’re extending that coverage obviously here. That’s his opinion. It’s the opinion of many people. It’s not my opinion. And that’s based upon, with respect, interpersonal engagement, time I’ve spent with the president in quiet times in the back of the car, in public events, large and small. I’ve had a disproportionate amount of time to spend with them because of many of the crises, climate related fossil fuel induced crisis in the state of California, and I’ve just experienced a different appreciation for his energy and his capacity.

Interviewer (19:40):

Why is Joe Biden running neck and neck in almost every poll with a man who was impeached twice and facing 91 felony counts?

Gavin Newsom (19:50):

Because we’re an incredibly divided country and always have been. I mean, have been certainly in recent years in notable terms. The last election arguably was 44,000 votes in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin. That was one half of 1% of 10 million that were cast in those three states. The national polls, I know our obsession around it, and then we all shift to, “Well, we shouldn’t have really been focusing on the national polls. It’s really around these key states.” Come on. This is so early. Our obsession with polls, who’s up and down. We’re, right now, 24/7 surround sound all things Trump.

Interviewer (20:26):

That’s not going to change if he’s a nominee.

Gavin Newsom (20:28):

I don’t know. There’s other things going on in this country than Donald Trump. I mean, there’s a hell of a lot.

Interviewer (20:32):

Well, we’re covering other stuff. I’m just saying if he is going head-to-head with Joe Biden, it’s not going to change.

Gavin Newsom (20:35):

All I’m saying is this, we haven’t started. We haven’t even started.

Interviewer (20:39):


Gavin Newsom (20:39):

These guys are in the middle of a primary. You are all rightfully focusing on Trump, Trumpism, and those that are belly flopping like Ron DeSantis, and who’s up and who’s down, is Nikki Haley up to… And we’re going to shift that focus, I assume, in the interest of the American people, in fairness to Biden’s reelection as he gears back up and he’s just starting to get into gear.

Interviewer (21:02):

One of the things that Republicans are relentless on of course is Hunter Biden. The House Republicans are now engaged in an impeachment inquiry.

Gavin Newsom (21:13):

No, they’re worried about gun crimes, which is remarkable. Actually-

Interviewer (21:17):

I want to talk about something else. Which is, I should say there is no evidence that Joe Biden directly benefited from anything that Hunter Biden was doing.

Gavin Newsom (21:26):

You may want to tell the speaker of the house that.

Interviewer (21:26):

Well, Republicans have shown that Hunter Biden, he tried to leverage his father’s name and that the president allegedly before he was president joined phone calls that Hunter Biden’s business associates were on. Do you see anything inappropriate there?

Gavin Newsom (21:42):

I don’t know enough about the details of that. I mean, I’ve seen a little of that. If that’s the new criteria, there are a lot of folks in a lot of industries, not just in politics, where people have family members and relationships and they’re trying to parlay and get a little influence and benefit in that respect. That’s hardly unique. I don’t love that any more than you love it or other people I imagine love that. We want to see a lot less of that, but an impeachment inquiry, give me a break. This is student government. Student government. Threatening debt again or rather threatening a government shutdown again after we went through that process with the debt ceiling. This is student government. This is a joke. Ready, fire, aim. I mean, this is a perversity, what the founding fathers ever conceived of and imagined. So if that’s the best they can do, give me a break. That’s about public opinion and shape that in apolitical context.

Interviewer (22:32):

Should President Biden be out there defending himself, defending the notion of what his son did or didn’t do, because he’s been silent on it?

Gavin Newsom (22:45):

With respect, I can’t answer that. That’s for the president answer. Well, I will say this though, just as trying to be as objective as I can, when you have the Department of Justice, I would best advise the president not to start meddling. This is what we were criticizing during the Trump administration, so I know y’all want him to do something, but at the same time we’d then be criticizing for getting too involved in the weeds. I think he’s taking the right approach. It’s tough personally for him not to be able to say more, I can imagine. Forget the politics. End of the day, we come and go, he’s the future ex-president. I expect that will happen in five plus years. But at a personal level, this has got to be devastating to him.

Interviewer (23:25):

You and Vice President Kamala Harris go way back. You say that you came up together in San Francisco. You knew each other-

Gavin Newsom (23:30):

Before we were in politics.

Interviewer (23:31):

Before you were in politics. I’m sure you saw that former speaker, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, she heaped praise on Kamala Harris, but she declined to say whether or not she thought that the vice president is the best person to be on the ticket with Joe Biden in 2024. Do you?

Gavin Newsom (23:50):

Of course she is. The Biden-Harris administration, masterclass in terms of performance, bipartisan deals on infrastructure, bipartisan deals on guns and debt ceiling on the chips and science side.

Interviewer (24:01):

So, she’s the best choice?

Gavin Newsom (24:02):

I mean, by definition, if I think this administration, the last two and a half years has been one of the most outstanding administrations in the last few decades, and she’s a member of that administration, she gets to lay and claim credit to a lot of that success. The answer is absolutely.

Interviewer (24:16):

A couple of issues I want to talk to you about; homelessness, which is an epidemic, as you well know. 171,000 people experiencing homelessness in your state of California. It’s about a third of the entire homeless population in the U.S. I know you’ve taken over as governor, you’re trying to fix it, it doesn’t seem like it’s getting much better. I know you’re owning it, but-

Gavin Newsom (24:40):

Oh, yeah. Well, it was 188,299 in 2005, and that’s not to make an excuse. It’s to make a point. This is a-

Interviewer (24:48):

Can I just interrupt you for one second there, because I’ve heard you say that before. Just-

Gavin Newsom (24:52):

No, because it’s a preexisting condition that is decades in the making, but I want folks to know that, but-

Interviewer (24:58):

Just a quick fact check on that because it is true that the number was what you said in 2005, but they counted it differently. They counted the hidden homeless, so it’s apples to oranges, but go ahead.

Gavin Newsom (25:08):

Look, I’ve made the point that the issue has changed dramatically in the last number of years. In that same extended breath of making that point, I make the point that is the point. What’s happened on the streets and sidewalks with tents and encampments is unacceptable. I also make the point that four and a half years ago, the state of California is nowhere to be found on the homeless issue. It was never the responsibility of a governor. And back in 2005, I was mayor. I never thought of calling Arnold Schwarzenegger for help or Greg Davis at the time. The reality is that’s dramatically changed. We have homeless strategies, homeless plans. We now have accountability plans. We rejected the first plans last year.

We’re putting on the ballot next March, the most significant mental health reforms in U.S. history. Mark my words, bipartisan support. You want a unity agenda in this country, it’s on the issue of behavioral health and mental health. We have directionally shifted the conversation and the paradigm of accountability and responsibility. None of us are walking away from this. We own it. We see it. It is a disgrace and it’s a national disgrace because the magnitude of the problem, and this issue is what consumes us and consumes the people of our state because they have had it. And I deeply understand the accountability and the responsibility of Governor of California to do more and better in this space, but I’m very proud of a $15.3 billion strategy of investments, short-term, medium- and long-term, and the opportunity in the next few years to prove that we can turn this around.

Interviewer (26:34):

Another issue that is a national issue, but of course one that you deal with in various ways in California. Another issue is abortion. You have probably heard more and more Republicans, including Donald Trump, who just over the weekend accused Democrats of supporting abortion rights up to and after birth. Can you be clear about-

Gavin Newsom (26:56):

What does that mean, after birth, abortion after birth? It’s made up. It’s

Gavin Newsom (27:00):

It’s a political state.

Interviewer (27:00):

Well, can you just be clear about what limits on abortion should be?

Gavin Newsom (27:05):

It’s a political thing. People are not seeking abortion at the end of the cycle.

Interviewer (27:09):

What is the policy? What should it be?

Gavin Newsom (27:10):

The policy, it’s not up to Donald Trump or me. It’s up to you, to women, that have to bear that responsibility uniquely and distinctively. The reality is it’s a canard, it’s a political frame. It’s total BS, and it’s exactly where they need to go because they know they’ve gone too far on the side.

Interviewer (27:32):

But there has to be some kind… Well, let me just talk about your state of California. As you well know, there is a law on books that preceded you that says that you can have an abortion up until viability, which is about 24 weeks.

Gavin Newsom (27:43):

That’s right.

Interviewer (27:44):

Is that something that you support personally?

Gavin Newsom (27:47):

That’s in statute in the state of California. That said, there was a constitutional amendment that we placed on the ballot that has some nuance in it, and so that’s an area that’s being adjudicated in public opinion and likely will ultimately be adjudicated in the courts.

Interviewer (28:02):

Is it the government’s role then? I know you said it’s up to women-

Gavin Newsom (28:05):

It’s not our role to make that decision.

Interviewer (28:06):

There should be nothing on the books?

Gavin Newsom (28:09):

This is a canard. This is a false flag. This is where they need to go in order to get out of the mess they’ve created because they don’t believe in fundamental choice and freedom for women. They don’t, period. Full stop. This whole issue is a political issue.

With respect, I’m not surprised that Donald Trump is saying this. This is exactly what you hear every single one of them say next week down at the Reagan Library. At the end of the day, those examples are so extreme, so rare when you have literally viability issues that are deeply personal and painful. Others have said it more eloquently than I have. After you’ve picked out the name of the baby and then you’re forced to make this terrible decision at the end of a term. To exploit that for political purpose is offensive.

Interviewer (28:56):

I just want to be clear because people are going to be listening very carefully to what you’re saying. You do not believe it is the role of government, nationally or state government, to have any limits on the books legally.

Gavin Newsom (29:10):

The state of California’s long believed in viability. I’ve long believed in viability. We went forward with a constitutional amendment that’s created some questions as it relates to this.

My point is no one wants to see late, late term abortions. No one’s out there promoting that. That’s not the Democratic Party’s position. It’s not what my personal position is. In those rare and extremely rare in personal circumstances, one thing I absolutely believe, Donald Trump shouldn’t be making that decision. I sure as hell should not be making that decision.

That’s a decision for the mother, the would-be mother and for her doctor and for whomever member of her family or priest believes that’s the right thing to do. Beyond that, with all due respect, I call BS on this whole debate. It is purely a political canard.

Interviewer (29:58):

Couple other quick questions. If I go around the big issues of the day, the COVID rates are going back up. I know you did a study or you had a three-day meeting about lessons learned from COVID.

Gavin Newsom (30:13):

Yeah. Getting all that back.

Interviewer (30:14):

Can you see a world in which you would support a mask mandate?

Gavin Newsom (30:20):

I don’t see it in the short run. I see no signs of necessity in that. We’re seeing in some circumstances, private efforts to, particularly in healthcare settings with seniors, to install those mandates. That’s a determination that’s made based on unique conditions and circumstances, but not from the state perspective.

Interviewer (30:42):

You promised if Dianne Feinstein steps down before the end of her term to appoint a woman of color as an interim. I’m sure you saw that Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who’s running in the primary did not like that very much. She said the idea that a Black woman should be appointed only as a caretaker to simply check a box is insulting to countless Black women across the country. Then she went on to say that the perspective of a Black woman in the US Senate is sorely needed and needed for more than a few months.

Gavin Newsom (31:15):

Well, I appreciate that point of view. We have a primary in a couple of months. This is a hypothetical on top of a hypothetical, and what I said stands. If under that hypothetical situation, I’m asked to make an appointment, I will make an appointment of an African- American woman. Period. Full top.

Why? Because I think best person should be there and I happen to think that representation matters. That’s why I made two out of three Supreme Court Justice positions of African-American women, appointed them, appointed a remarkable woman as our Secretary of State, an African-American woman, the first head of our law enforcement agency, CHP, an African-American woman, and the head of the California Resources Board African-American woman. I’ve got a pretty good record in this space and I’m going to hold myself to account if that hypothetical on top of a hypothetical effort occurs.

Interviewer (32:05):

Okay. Before I let you go, I know you’ve said many, many times you do not see a world in which you will run for president in 2024.

Gavin Newsom (32:16):

Yes. I mean, yes, no.

Interviewer (32:16):

Yes, you have not-

Gavin Newsom (32:17):

Meaning the answer is no. Yes you heard that.

Interviewer (32:17):

No, you will not run in 2024.

Gavin Newsom (32:19):

Yeah, no ambiguity.

Interviewer (32:20):

Generally speaking, do you think you would make a good president?

Gavin Newsom (32:23):

Oh, come on. No. That’s now a triple hypothetical. If we’ve just doubled and stacked the hypothetical.

Interviewer (32:28):

You never thought about it?

Gavin Newsom (32:29):

No, I’m not that guy. I’m just not. I’ve never had a photo of-

Interviewer (32:32):

You never looked in the mirror and said, “Hmm. Could I be President?”

Gavin Newsom (32:35):

No. I’m not a member of the Senate. No. Yeah, I haven’t.

Interviewer (32:39):

No, but you’re a chief executive of a big state. It’s not that big of a leap. We have seen governors of California become President before.

Gavin Newsom (32:46):

And others that have tried. Look, I’m blessed and humbled beyond words. They tried to recall me a couple years ago, so humility and grace is front and center in my consciousness.

What’s also front and center is just getting out of this sort of naval gazing around Joe Biden. Let’s get going. Let’s get on the train. This train has left the proverbial station. We have got to get on and stop, move on and get this campaign going. I’m excited about it. I’m going to do my small part.

Whatever they ask me to do, I’ll do. I’ll stand up and stand proud and strong because I just never had the opportunity to defend a record, I think, as impressive as the record of the Biden administration in the last two years with humility and recognition that not every problem in the world’s been solved and that people still have deep unease and anxiety about the world they’re living in.

That is part of our responsibility every single day to make those lives better. That’s what I look forward to the next year-and-a-half of the current administration, and then four years of an extended term of the Biden/Harris administration.

Interviewer (33:52):

Governor, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

Gavin Newsom (33:55):

Thanks for having me.

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