During a Monday news conference, California Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed sympathy and showed support for the protesters around the country outraged over the death of George Floyd.
“The black community is not responsible for what’s happening in this country right now. We are. Our institutions are responsible. We are accountable to this moment,” he said.
He added that it’s understandable that people are fed up with the lack of progress and that leaders in society need to be held accountable.
“People have lost patience because they haven’t seen progress. If you’re out there saying, ‘People need to be patient,’ consider that people have lost patience for a reason,” Newsom said. “They have been told that over and over and over again. This is a manifestation of everything we’ve been promoting but haven’t delivered. If leaders are going to meet not just this moment but the moments in front of us, we better start listening. We better start owning up to our own accountability and responsibility.”
Newsom also said, “Each and every one of us has more to do better. I get that. I own that. Leaders can be found everywhere. Leadership is not just some fancy title. We are desperate for leadership in this country.”
The governor condemned looters but refused to back President Trump’s call for governors to “dominate” protesters.
“When you’re out there to exploit conditions, not advance the cause of justice — that is not serving the greater good,” he said. “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.”
Beverly Hills, Long Beach, West Hollywood and Santa Monica have been hit with looting over the past few days. Newsom said Monday that another 1,100 members of the National Guard have been called up to assist cities in dealing with the protests and violence, bringing the total to about 4,500.
Trump urged the nation’s governors to get tough on civil unrest across the country on Monday, and said most of them looked “weak,” according to a CBS News report.
“You have to dominate, if you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time,” Trump said. “They’re going to run over you. You’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate.”
Newsom responded indirectly at the news conference, and did not mention Trump by name, referring to the president’s comment as “some noise I heard.”
“I have a choice. We all have a choice,” Newsom said. “I can be part of the daily back and forth in the news cycle, and to continue to perpetuate the problems that persist in this country. I can 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 that I hope has more resonance for people watching, and that is I care more about them than some of the noise I heard on a morning phone call.”