California Gov Gavin Newsom on bullies in anti-Republican political adverts

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom said the political attack ads he sponsored, which are being run in Florida and Texas, are in retaliation for the Republican-backed recall against him.

“I literally seize the moment that I’m in,” Newsom said in an exclusive interview with CNBC. “I had to muster up, I think we spent over $80 million last year defending ourselves in a recall. These guys have nationalized the recall against me and I’m just pushing back.”

Newsom successfully stopped a recall attempt in California last year. When asked if he was preparing to run for president, Newsom insisted he wasn’t.

“I can sleep at night,” Newsom said. “At night I fall asleep fighting off bullies like Ron DeSantis.”

Newsom’s re-election campaign ran an ad on Florida TV stations in July that slammed DeSantis. Freedom “is under attack in your state,” Newsom said in the ad. “I urge all of you who live in Florida to join the fight or join us in California where we still believe in freedom — freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom from hate and freedom to love.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom successfully defeated a recall attempt in California last year. When asked if he was preparing to run for president, Newsom insisted he wasn’t.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The 25-minute interview with Newsom came after the governor officially signed into law the Community Assistant, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) bill he was drafting to address California’s homelessness problem. The bill provides for court-ordered care for homeless people with severe mental disorders.

“It addresses what’s happening on our streets and sidewalks, specifically the most important issue: mental health,” Newsom said. “Every day we see people with bipolar disorder, people with schizophrenia, people with paranoia — most, let’s face it, self-medicate with drug or alcohol addictions.”

The CARE Court provides a quick response for family members and first responders to submit a request to a judge to order an evaluation of a person with a mental health disorder. If the person qualifies, the judge will create a detailed CARE PLAN, which could include placement.

“We’re seeing this manifested in California like no other state,” Newsom said. “It’s not unique to California, it’s just worse here. It is an important issue that we have not been able to address.”

The legislation will be implemented statewide, beginning in seven counties including: San Francisco, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego. Newsom said he hopes the program will eventually roll out across the country.

Newsom also defended AB 257, the Fast Food Labor Code, which expands protections for fast food workers.

“There are sectors of our economy where workers have no voice, where they have no choice, where their health and safety are often at risk,” Newsom said. “A disproportionately large number of women and minorities work in this sector. And it’s not just all teenagers who work a few hours a week to make their way to the top, you have moms, people who work 20 years in the fast food industry. And you’re stuck. We wanted to do some sectoral negotiations to give people a little head start, give them a little chance.

The current minimum wage in California is $15 an hour for businesses with more than 25 employees. The law would allow the new 10-member council to increase the minimum wage to as much as $22, which has drawn some criticism from people who fear it will drive up the cost of eating out.

“I have an In-N-Out burger just around the corner that’s $22 today and I can’t even find workers,” Newsom said. “The minimum wage, they exceeded that in this economy a while ago. They just have a hard time finding workers, understandably. The workers ask what do you have for me?”

As part of the wide-ranging interview, Newsom also said:

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