Jun 1, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom June 1 California Press Conference Transcript
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Dr. Tecoy Porter: (00:27)
Good morning. My name is Dr. Tecoy Porter. I’m the pastor of the Genesis Church in South Sacramento. I’m also the president of the National Action Network here in Sacramento and California state chair. It’s so important to have a clear voice in this hour. And Governor Newsom has been that just not only for California, but also for the nation. We just got through meeting in regards to what I believe is happening in America, double pandemic. The first pandemic we are so well aware of is that is with the Coronavirus, which is impacting so many. We have crossed that threshold of a 100,000 persons being impacted and dying in our nation. And then in fact, hurting so many in our nation is heart wrenching. And then we have this other virus going on that we’re seeing in Minneapolis with what happened with George Floyd and that virus is racism.
Dr. Tecoy Porter: (01:45)
And I’m happy to say that we’ve actually are speaking against that. We’re talking about it and we have a governor here that’s going to call that out. And I’m glad that we just had a conversation with myself, him, and other leaders that are calling this other virus out. This virus is not impacting just the black community or brown community, but impacting our nation and facing that. And so I’m glad to welcome here, our governor here, and to welcome you to this press conference and I guess the meeting after the meeting. And so thank you for governor for coming. Welcome to Genesis. Welcome to Sacramento. Governor?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (02:35)
Thank you, Pastor Porter. And thank you to all of those that were assembled here, are assembled here behind the cameras that took the time to reach out and connect, not just with me, to one another and to talk about the state, not only of the State of California, but the state of this nation. And more broadly, the world that we live in.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (03:03)
Today’s meeting, like so many that I’ve had are humbling. The voices of concern, consternation, anxiety are real, they’re raw. And I recognize foundationally and fundamentally that so often people in my position are inadequate to the moment. So often we try to meet the moment with rhetoric. We feign resolve. We make a point to assert a new paradigm and yet over and over and over and over again, we hear the names of those whose lives have been lost, have been taken, justice that was never advanced. And communities continuing to feel that they’re not only being torn asunder, but not being listened to.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (03:54)
And I fear as I know many Americans fear that we could be back in that moment. Every moment when you’re in it feels like it’s a different moment. Every moment when we’re in it, we feel like, well, this time we’re going to do things fundamentally differently, yet over and over and over and over again, we don’t meet that next moment. Over and over and over again, we fail to rationalize the goodwill and we fail to materialize and manifest the ideals that we so often assert. And so I come here today, this place of worship, humbled by that past, humbled by the fact that I’ve been part of that past as a former County supervisor, as a former mayor, as a former lieutenant governor, as a governor of the nation’s largest state. The question I have to ask myself, the question we have to ask ourselves, are we capable of not just meeting this moment, but capable of doing justice to the moments in front of us? I could put together group of advisors. I could put together a task force. I could promise and promote a few pieces of legislation. But I said this on Friday, I’ll say it again, program passing’s not problem solving. You’ve got to change hearts, minds. You’ve got to change culture, not just laws. And we have to own up to some very difficult things. The black community is not responsible for what’s happening in this country right now. We are, we are. Our institutions are responsible. We are accountable to this moment. Let’s just call that out. We have a unique responsibility to the black community in this country, and we’ve been playing lip service about that for generations, generations. Just things move away and headlines. And we indulge on the margins, but we don’t systemically foundationally address the root of these issues. We prune. We don’t tear out the institutional racism from all of our institutions, large and small. We don’t.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (06:13)
We know that. The community knows that. You’re seeing that manifested out in the streets in the last five days. They know that. The question is, do we do deeply understand that? Are we prepared to do something differently about it? Each and every one of us watching, what are we going to do differently? Foundationally, fundamentally, not in the short run, but in the long run to do justice to this moment. People have lost patience because they haven’t seen progress.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (06:48)
So if you’re out there saying, well, people need to be patient. Consider, people have lost patience for a reason. They’ve been told that over and over and over and over again, not just the 52 years I’ve been around. My parents, my grandparents, their parents generation heard the same, just be patient. Heck, I’ve quoted Dr. King on ad nauseum, “The long arch of history bends towards justice.” You’ve made progress, but this is a manifestation of everything we’ve been promoting that we haven’t delivered. People have lost patience. And if leaders are going to meet, not just this moment, but the moments in front of us, we better start listening. We better start hearing people. We better own up to our own responsibility, on accountability that led to this moment. Society becomes how we behave. We are our behaviors. Each and every one of us as an obligation to do more and better. And folks in my position, more still. I get that. I own that, but leaders can be found everywhere.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (08:16)
Leadership is not just some fancy title. We are desperate for leadership in this country. Desperate for leadership in the State of California, desperate for leadership in communities, large and small. Leaders can be found anywhere. You don’t have to be something to do something to soften the edges. And in the spirit of Bobby Kennedy, “Make more gentle the life of this world.” Dr. King didn’t wait to become president of the United States to exercise his authority. Every day he shared his moral authority. Each and every one of us has the capacity to exercise their moral authority every day.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:02)
…Capacity to exercise their moral authority every day, and we need moral leaders now more than ever. Each and every one of us has that capacity. It resides inside of us. It’s our capacity to lead by example, to find our better angels, to focus on the things that unite us, not what divide us, and to reinforce a sense of optimism because we recognize we have to do things differently. And we’re resolved to prove that, not just to assert that, and to hold ourselves to account, because each of us will be judged and judge each other, to the extent we do justice and advance our cause in a different way.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:46)
And so I am here as your governor, humbled over the course of the last five days, resolved to keep the peace, but recognizing that an armed camp is not a place of peace and that the answer to violence is not more violence. And that if we’re going to create the conditions to truly advance police, people have to know we mean it and they have to know that they matter and we care. And so for those of you that are out there protesting, I want you to know you matter, and I want you to know I care. We care. And I don’t want to just demonstrate that rhetorically. I want you to know that I have a unique responsibility to prove that to you, not just assert. You’ve lost patience. So have I. You are right to feel wronged. You are right to feel the way you are feeling. And we, collectively, society has a responsibility to you to be better and to do better.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:57)
To those that want to exploit this moment, that want to flame the violence and fear, we hear you as well, but we don’t have the same sensitivities as it relates to those that are trying to exercise their voice from a place of hurt and pain. When you try to cause pain on others, when you’re out there to exploit conditions, not advance the cause of justice, that is not serving the greater good. And we need to also call that out. The looting, the violence, the threats against fellow human beings, that has no place in this state and in this nation. We as a society need to call that out, and we need to call forth our better angels, and those that want to express themselves and have, thank you. God bless you. Keep doing it. Your rage is real. Express it so that we can hear it. Let’s not let others drown out that rage and those that want to advance this cause in a responsible and thoughtful way.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:15)
I’m not patient any longer. I know you’re not. We hear you, and we have a responsibility now to prove to you, not just to assert, that we’re capable of being more and doing better as a society and a community. And so I just, again, want to express my deep gratitude, my deep humility, to those leaders of every stripe that all across this state and all across our nation are doing justice in this moment, those demonstrators that were reaching out and trying to calm other people, to those community leaders that were out there with brooms in the early morning, sweeping up glass, to folks that were on the periphery, that said, you know what? I can’t stand on the periphery any longer. I need to be part of this effort. Thank you to all of your examples, as well.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:19)
So much good and so much right that’s out there. But there is a stain on the history of this country we have concealed, and it’s rearing its head again because we never come to grips with it. We’ve never owned it. It’s the issue of racism. The pastor is exactly right, pandemic on top of a pandemic, impacting our health, impacting our economy, and impacting our capacity to live up to our greatest ideals. We could talk about being bound together by a web of mutuality, as Dr. King said, and if that’s the case, we need to reconcile that fact that we are all in this together. The Bible teaches us we’re many, many parts, but at the end of the day, we’re one body. And when one part suffers, we all suffer. We have an obligation to reconcile the fact that our fate is tied to the fate of others. South Africa, called [inaudible 00:14:22], “I am because you are.”
Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:27)
Time for more empathy, more care, more capacity to collaborate. Society, it’s about dominance and aggression. This is what you get, not because of the protestors, but the conditions that led to this moment where protest was inevitable. So we are committed and resolved to bringing peace back to the streets, not only in this state, but to support the efforts all across this nation. We’ll do our part, but it’s not just a situational moment. We have to focus on the medium and longterm, and we have to prove our commitment and our resolve in that space.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:12)
So I just want to thank all the leaders, not only again assembled here, but throughout this state, once again for your courage, because now is a time for courage. Now it’s time for your voice to be brought to the forefront. And let me thank all of those that are doing their best to keep people safe under very difficult circumstances, and all of those leaders that are out there supporting others, keeping people safe, our communities large and small, all across the state of California safe at this very trying and difficult moment. So with that, we’re happy to take any questions. We of course are happy to also step aside and have members of the community respond, as well.
Sophia Bollag: (15:58)
Thank you, governor. Sophia Bollag here from the Sacramento Bee. I’ll be asking questions on behalf of the Press Corps today. Many of us would like to know what your reaction is to Trump’s comments this morning to governors to get tough on protesters.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (16:15)
My reaction is the meeting I just had. My reaction are the words that I just spoke. My reaction is my commitment to the people of this state, the most diverse state in the world’s most diverse democracy, to focus on the things that unite us, not what divides us. To make sure people are safe, but to make sure people recognize that there’s something that lies deep underneath that has come to the fore that needs to be dealt with, with an equivalency of energy, focus, and resolve. We will provide the resources as needed to members of our community leaders all up and down the state of California. But we must resolve to provide those resources to address the systemic problems at the same time.
Sophia Bollag: (17:01)
You’ve avoided criticizing the president since the start of the pandemic. Should we interpret your comments today as a criticism of what he said this morning?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:10)
I have a choice. We all have a choice. I could be part of the daily back and forth in the news cycle and continue to perpetuate the problems that persist in this country. I could choose to go back and forth and just be another voice in that cause, or I can choose to focus a message that I think is so much more powerful, and I hope more resonant with people watching. And that is, I care more about them than some of the noise I heard on the morning phone call.
Sophia Bollag: (17:42)
You said that the country needs leadership right now. Do you think that the president is providing adequate leadership?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:48)
As I said, leadership can be found anywhere. In the absence of leaders, of people in positions of formal authority, we have people that exercise their moral authority each and every day, church leaders, community leaders, faith based leaders of all stripes, teachers.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:03)
Community leaders, faith-based leaders, of all stripes. Teachers, parents, caregivers, people, strangers walking the street that exercise their moral authority by trying to soften the edges of people that are apt to do more harm and create more violence. Leaders in law enforcement that meet this moment, that recognize the empathy that’s called for as well. That kind of leadership is desperately needed in this nation and is ample if people begin to exercise it. And that’s my hope and that’s my resolve, is to find those leaders to call for more that kind of leadership in this country.
Speaker 3: (18:41)
Tim Puko of the Wall Street Journal would like to know what the plan is tonight for managing protests in dealing with break-ins and theft. And in particular, what changes, or tactics you’re supporting to deescalate confrontations, violence and damage?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:57)
Well, we’re working with mayors in cities and counties, large and small, sheriffs, and obviously working with leaders of the community, not just those in law enforcement, to exercise more control, more authority, again, moral authority, not just formal authority to address the issue of violence.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:15)
As many know, we have been working with mayors on deploying National Guard to resources. The state of California has, from a law enforcement perspective, California Highway Patrol, which has been on tactical alert for days, 12 hour shifts, up and down the state of California. Working mutual aid positions, pre-positioned and also in strike teams to react.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:38)
The National Guard was brought up. Over 3,400 National Guards men and women were called up today. We added another 1100, so we have over 4,500 National Guardsmen and women that are available throughout the state of California. Part of the protocols of mutual aid. It’s a bottom up process, not a top down process. Mayors working with their chiefs, working to coordinate and collaborate the deployment of those teams. The National Guard, as you know, have been already distributed parts of the state, disproportionately concentrated in Southern California, but in Northern California, we have people pre-assembled.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:21)
We have folks in other parts of the state that have been called back up, but thousands and thousands of National Guardsmen and women, by the way, who are also members of the community, many putting on their uniform, dentist, doctors, folks that work in construction, that are part of that group that are participating in making sure that we keep the peace and will continue to meet the requests, we believe of every mayor and every police chief in the state. We’ve done so, so far, and we intend to continue to.
Speaker 3: (20:58)
Are you waiting for local leaders to ask you for help before deploying more National Guardsmen and women, or are you proactively sending them to places that you think need help?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:09)
Well, you cannot proactively send them in without creating more problems than you fix. If the state of California, from the state capitol, is sending national guards, men and women, without concurrent support collaboration and coordination through the mutual aid system, through a spirit of collaboration and support at the County level and the local level, then that’s a recipe for more problems.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:35)
The process we have today is well-established, very formal. It’s a mutual aid process established as just two proxy examples in the Bay Area, in Oakland and in San Francisco. San Francisco had mutual aid yesterday from Tulare County, from Santa Barbara County, other parts of the state coming in to provide mutual aid into the city and county of San Francisco. Similarly, mutual aid from surrounding regions into Oakland, other parts of the state, a mutual aid approach first. Working with CHP to help coordinate and collaborate as it relates to efforts on freeways, as it relates to jurisdictions where those lines begin to blur and then the National Guard on top of that to come for logistical supports.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:22)
But all of that is done through a command and support structure that has a local framework that is appropriate, in order to keep all of these jurisdictions and keep the law enforcement approach in a very organized manner and keep people safe.
Speaker 3: (22:39)
Are you planning any statewide actions to deal with the protest tonight, like a statewide curfew or anything like that?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:47)
We believe the conditions are very different in Del Norte, versus other parts of the state, Imperial, or places in San Diego, different than even here in the Bay Area. Each and every jurisdiction, as a former mayor, I understand this intimately, has made determinations based on conditions as they see them in real time. Curfews as early as 1:00 PM in some parts of the state, others as late as 8:00 PM. And that is a determination made by the experts on the ground, based upon the conditions in their communities.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:23)
Statewide, we have 7,000 California Highway Patrol. Again, full tactical alert, have been for days with protective gear all up and down the state of California. Working again to deploy the National Guard, an additional 1100 guardsmen and women that are deployed just today, thousands over the last few days.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:45)
We are looking, we have many National Guardsmen and women working on COVID response. We are looking at a subset of those on COVID response to see if we can pre-position and make them available to meet the needs of communities all across the state of California. So, substantial support from the state of California and obviously robust local support. Mutual aid system, well-defined, well organized, and a county overlay with the County sheriffs, working with CHP and ultimately with the National Guard.
Speaker 3: (24:18)
Next question is from Jill Cohen of the New York Times. She would like to know how worried you are about the spread of COVID-19 at these protests and how the state is tracking any related spread. And after we saw testing sites close in Los Angeles, as curfews went into effect, how are you and local health officials ensuring that protesters can get tested?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:38)
Well, we want to make sure everybody can get tested. I encourage people to go on the covid19.ca.gov website, type in your zip code, and you’ll see the closest site for testing available and open today. Yesterday, we conducted over 67,000 tests, day four and five into this very challenging period. People are being tested substantially all throughout the state of California, even in the midst of this latest challenge.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:09)
And so we encourage that from public health and public safety perspective, and we want to make sure we continue to provide more sites, more points of access for people to get tested. And obviously, when those testing sites open, to deal with the backlog, as it relates to those individuals that otherwise would have gotten tested. Which again, we continue to encourage people all throughout the state with symptoms and those that are asymptomatic that may be in an environment where they’re more vulnerable, prospect of the spread of this disease.
Speaker 3: (25:41)
The next question is from Kathleen Ronayne of the Associated Press. You’ve said you were monitoring violent, extremist organizing. Have you found any evidence of such groups infiltrating the protests? And if so, who are they? And do you think that the police are handling them appropriately?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:56)
Yeah. They’re well-defined all throughout this country. They’re names you’ve heard of. Names I don’t even particularly want to reinforce and promote, which is their intent and their interest, but they’re well-defined. Those same names, those same groups, that many do come from out of the communities of which they’re creating havoc, many come from other parts of not only the…. Well, let’s be honest, other parts of the country, many are homegrown.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:26)
Want to monitor all of these groups and it’s our intention to continue to collaborate and share that information. A lot of it’s generated by the federal government a lot by the state and then a very well organized system that has existed for some time in this state, where we share that in real time with local law enforcement. But that is also a two way conversation, local law enforcement sharing what they’re hearing in real time as well. We are monitoring those groups and I will say this, I don’t think, because I’ve been deeply involved in terms of the collaborative spirit and engagement at the local, regional, federal level…
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:03)
… Of spirit and engagement at the local, regional, federal level. It’s been an incredibly focused and very effective system. And I’m pleased with the communication flow between those respective agencies in those jurisdictions.
Speaker 4: (27:16)
I understand that you don’t want to name the specific groups, but could you generally characterize what type of extremist groups you’re talking about here?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:22)
Look, groups that are hell bent on creating problems and anarchist groups. You’ve got the folks that are well-defined, that have been highlighted by the president and others. And there are other groups out there that are organized, some less organized, and some that individuals that are not even organized, that certainly are looking to create havoc. I don’t, by any stretch, I’m suggesting that we hide these names. These names are well-reviewed, well-received. But I also see every time an elected official like me mentions them, they start to be spread between their supporters, and with all due respect to some of these groups, I’m not going to give you that privilege right now.
Speaker 4: (28:00)
Genoa Barrow of the Sacramento Observer asks, Locally, African-American protestors have been injured, shot in the face with rubber bullets not far from the Capitol. She would like to know if you can address this and if shooting into a crowd of people is justifiable in this situation.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (28:16)
Yeah. I don’t know specific issues related to those incidences. And I’m happy to get more details about those incidences. All across the State, we’re monitoring from Bakersfield to Modesto, Fresno, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, LA, San Francisco, San Jose, up Northern parts of the State. We’ve been monitoring all across the State activity. And all I could say this is, we want restraint. We want as much expression of respect with law enforcement and protestors as humanly possible; empathy, understanding. Again, a collaborative spirit, but we also need peace. And we need to protect small businesses. And we need to protect people that are scared that they’re behind walls with their children. They’re scared about their safety as well. And we need to call out those that are hell bent on creating violence and drowning out the voices of legitimate protests.
Speaker 4: (29:18)
Instances of police firing into crowds of what appeared to be peaceful protesters or targeting individual peaceful protesters, have been well-documented. Have you seen those? And what is your reaction to seeing videos of those types of things?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:31)
well, nothing breaks my heart than see anyone get hurt period. And nothing breaks my heart more to know that in some instances, though, one has to quantify this, that that kind of violence was unnecessary to keep the peace. And so again, I cannot impress upon all of our partners up and down the State of California to promote restraint, respect the honor and the privilege of the work that they do, and make sure that we are not creating an environment where we’re putting people at harm’s way. And we are not doing things that don’t do justice to our calling.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (30:10)
And so, when there are inappropriate acts done, people need to be accountable. And that’s another message. There’ll be accountability. We will appropriately investigate any acts of violence against others, whether those acts be perpetuated by people in positions of power and influence with badges on, or uniforms, or members of the community that are attacking and assaulting in a violent manner, innocent people and businesses.
Speaker 4: (30:40)
I’m being told that we need to wrap it up. So as our final question, a number of reporters have asked about the State budget. As you know, the State Senate passed their own proposal last week. What was your reaction to what they passed? Do you agree with the parts that they’ve passed related to State workers. They are not suggesting a pay cut as you have. And are you planning to add anything to your budget proposal to help some of the businesses that have been hurt by both the coronavirus shut down and by the protests?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:18)
Yeah. We obviously have to do more to help support our small business leaders. As a former small business person, myself, I intimately appreciate the incredible sacrifice, the courageous entrepreneurial-ism, that is so much part of the State of California, in particular, where innovation and entrepreneurial spirit runs through our veins.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:40)
And so, I’m deeply concerned about the pandemic as it relates to the impact on small businesses. We doubled the budget that we put together for small business loans, micro loans for business, particularly women and minority-owned businesses. We had other very targeted support for small business, as it relates to waving fees for new small business creation in the budget. And clearly, this moment will demand us to consider perhaps even more.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:08)
As it relates to the give and take of a budget process, I’ve been through this many, many times. All I can say is, I appreciate the collaborative spirit. I appreciate the work that the Senate is doing, the support that the assembly is giving to this process. And we continue to have very robust and very, very positive conversations. And that’s what a budget is all about. We submit our thoughts. We go through a deliberative process. They put out competing proposals. We work across those differences in the spirit of collaboration and the spirit that defines this moment, which is the spirit of collaboration. And we work to get to a threshold where we can together support a package that needs to be delivered by June 15th and signed by myself by July 1st. And I’m confident we’re well on our way to meeting those goals. And I respect and appreciate the work that they’ve done in the process to date.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (33:04)
I also just want to, in closing, express real appreciation for the work that we have to do together over the course of the next hours, days and weeks and many, many months and years to head as it relates to our commitment, our resolve, to do more than just pass resolutions urging or our pass this moment by, by not recognizing the enormity of our responsibility, to not only quell the violence that persists today, but to address the foundational issues that led to the violence in the first place.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (33:40)
And so again, I want to just thank everybody for their persistence, their power of their voice. I, again, want to just encourage people to exercise their voice and recognize how resonant each and every one of you are, in terms of your capacity to lead and lead us through this very difficult and challenging time, and do so with the spirit of commonality, the spirit that brings us all here together in this house of worship.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:05)
I want to thank the pastor for his support and his leadership. And for all of those leaders that were assembled here today, thank you for your guidance. Thank you for your faith and devotion and cause, not only to the State of California, but the State, the black community here in the United States of America. Thank you.