This was California Gov. Gavin Newsom discussing the pandemic in a taped interview for NBC’s Meet the Press on Sept. 9: “I think we would’ve done everything differently. I think all of us in terms of our collective wisdom, we’ve evolved. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. We’re experts in hindsight. We’re all geniuses now.”
Embattled Californians knew the “we” should have been “I.”
In March of 2020, the state legislature suspended the legislative session and gave Newsom total control of the state. On March 19, Newsom became the first governor in the nation to issue a stay-at-home order “to slow the spread of COVID-19.” It was Newsom, not the mayor of Fresno or the supervisors of Humboldt County, who in effect placed Californians under house arrest.
Residents of Malibu and other beach towns did not call police to arrest a solitary paddleboarder in the Pacific Ocean. It was Newsom’s stay-at-home order that made the arrest possible. When protesters showed up at the state capitol in Sacramento, Newsom fenced off the grounds and deployed the California Highway Patrol in force.
In April 2020, Newsom announced a $1 billion deal for masks with Build Your Dreams, a Chinese company with no experience in protective equipment. The deal, according to the Los Angeles Times, cost state taxpayers more than Newsom’s infectious diseases budget for the entire year, but he kept details secret, even from fellow Democrats.
It was Newsom, not the Yolo County supervisors or the San Diego city council, who made the deal. In November of 2020, Newsom and friends partied sans masks at the upscale French Laundry restaurant in Napa. Maybe he already knew that, as studies show, masks are of limited effectiveness and can be harmful for children.
In July of 2020, Newsom ordered 32 of California’s 58 counties, including Los Angeles County and most of southern California, to shut down school campuses. It was Newsom, not soccer moms in Santa Barbara or Oceanside, who issued this order, and Newsom was one of the last governors to reopen the schools.
In his NBC interview, Newsom claimed that “we didn’t know” about the way to proceed. Yet the governor never consulted the medical scientists of the Great Barrington Declaration—including Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University, Dr. Sunetra Gupta of the University of Oxford, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University—in Newsom’s home state.
In October of 2020, these distinguished epidemiologists argued for a more humane policy on lockdowns, masks, and such. Those policies were working well in Sweden and states such as Florida, but then-NIH boss Francis Collins ordered Dr. Anthony Fauci to set up a “devastating takedown” of the declaration.
Newsom gave the Barrington scientists no support and instead signed a bill charging that “dissemination of misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19 by physicians and surgeons to a patient under their direct care constitutes unprofessional conduct.” This mandate to enforce the government line placed doctors’ licenses at risk and violated their First Amendment rights.
It was Newsom, not physicians and patients in Sacramento and Riverside, who signed this bill, and the governor wasn’t done. In October of 2020, with the holiday season approaching, Newsom issued “Mandatory Requirements for All Gatherings,” restricting gatherings to two hours.
“All gatherings must be held outside,” the governor’s requirements stated. “Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized.” “Singing, chanting, and shouting” were “strongly discouraged.” Instrumental music was “allowed as long as the musicians maintain a six-foot social distancing.” Musicians had to be from one of the households in the gathering. Wind instruments such as clarinet and trumpet were also “strongly discouraged.”
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, in 2021, members of the state’s National Guard had been “told to place an F-15C fighter jet on an alert status for a possible domestic mission” to “terrify protesters to terrify and disperse protesters by flying low over them at window-rattling speeds.” What could possibly go wrong?
The head of the state National Guard reports to Newsom, whose office said deployment of the F-15C was “never a consideration” and if it had been, the governor “would not have approved it.” This same governor now claims that during the pandemic “we” would have done things “differently,” when it was him alone calling the shots. This year, according to the Federalist, a federal judge “slapp[ed] down” Newsom’s attempt to “muzzle doctors who dissent from Covid groupthink.”
Newsom approved a task force on reparations for slavery but so far has proposed nothing about reparations to embattled Californians for the damage his hardline pandemic policies caused. For all but the willfully blind, there’s a lesson here.
The struggle against white coat supremacy, like the struggle against bad government, is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
This article was also published in The American Spectator