Governor Gavin Newsom was noticeably missing from the lineup of elected officials spending time with President Joe Biden during his recent trip to California. What’s so strange about that? For starters, usually when a President from your own political party drops by to visit, the Governor will be around to shake a hand or hold a press conference. Especially when said Governor is up for reelection. Also, it would seem like yet another opportunity for Newsom to tout his leadership on national issues such as abortion and book banning. As reported by CalMatters, even NBC News political director Chuck Todd described the situation to KCRA as a “head-scratcher”.
So where was Newsom? According to the Governor, he had a “scheduling conflict”. Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor, shared some of her thoughts on why Newsom was not around with CalMatters’ Emily Hoven. In the interview with Hoven, Levinson explained that one possibility is that Newsom may be a bit sour over the fact that “Biden has been kind of out ahead of Newsom on a couple of issues.” For example, Biden called on Newsom to sign the farmworker unionization bill, which Newsom originally opposed. Biden also called on three LA City council members to resign (which Newsom did not do). And Biden has endorsed Congresswoman Karen Bass to be the next Mayor of Los Angeles (a race Newsom has stayed out of). The other possibility, as Levinson stated, is that “Biden may feel that Newsom is waiting in the wings… There could be a little personal bad blood because Newsom has become such a national presence and seems to be positioning himself to fill a potential void.” Regardless of what may be true, sometimes an absence makes a stronger statement than someone’s presence.
NOTE: CalPeek would like to thank CalMatters for its great statewide coverage. We encourage our readers to visit CalMatters.org to learn more about how they can support them.