DIPSHIDIOT OF THE DAY GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM
Gavin Newsom’s hypocritical French Laundry fiasco harms California’s COVID-19 efforts
FROM THE SACRAMENTO BEE EDITORIAL BOARD
DIPSHIDIOT OF THE DAY GAVIN NEWSOM NOT DOING WELL
A meal at the famed French Laundry restaurant in Yountville costs around $350 per person, not including wine. It typically features nine courses, not counting the “amuse-bouche,” which is a ritzy French term for appetizers.
We certainly hope Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, enjoyed their dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant on Nov. 6. Because it will end up costing a lot more than $700 in terms of damage to Newsom’s credibility in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing will launder the stain of stupidity from his reputation after this ill-conceived outing.
You see, California’s millionaire governor didn’t just splurge on dinner for the sake of a romantic evening with his spouse. That might have been understandable, though still out of touch in a state where many are suffering the drastic economic effects of the pandemic.
No, Newsom voyaged to Napa County for an exclusive birthday dinner with his favorite lobbyist and longtime advisor, Jason Kinney. The dinner “included people from several households, the type of gathering his administration has discouraged during the coronavirus pandemic,” according to a San Francisco Chronicle story by Alexei Koseff.
“State guidelines limit gatherings, defined as ‘social situations that bring together people from different households at the same time in a single space or place,’ to no more than three households,” wrote Koseff.
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY THEY DID NOT THINK THEY WOULD GET CAUGHT
Newsom and Kinney did not deny that more than three households had attended the dinner — in apparent defiance of guidelines put out by the state that Newsom purports to govern.
Let’s unpack the layers of bad judgment.
First, there’s the uber-expensive dinner at a restaurant the vast majority of Californians will never have a chance to visit. This is a bad look for an elected official at any time, but especially during a pandemic that has claimed more than 18,000 lives in California and devastated the state’s economy. It’s no secret that the Newsoms have tons of money, but it’s très gauche of them to flaunt it at a time like this.
Second, the exquisite dinner was held to celebrate the 50th birthday of Kinney, a Newsom insider and lobbying firm partner with a knack for getting his way in the corridors of power. For example, Newsom — who claims to care deeply about climate change — came under fire from environmentalists earlier this year after his administration approved fracking permits for Aera Energy. Who represents Aera in Sacramento?
“That company, Aera Energy — a joint venture of Shell and ExxonMobil — is represented by the lobbying firm Axiom Advisors. Axiom’s lobbyists include Jason Kinney, a senior advisor to Newsom while he served as lieutenant governor, and Kevin Schmidt, a policy director for Newsom during the same time period,” reported Steve Horn of Capital & Main. “Kinney’s wife, Mary Gonsalves Kinney, Capital & Main previously reported, is also the personal stylist for First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom.”
Kinney, a partner at Axiom Advisors, also served on Newsom’s transition team. The governor’s decision to attend Kinney’s birthday soirée during a pandemic demonstrates that this cozy relationship has the power to cloud Newsom’s judgment.
NEWSOM ADMITTED HE DID WHAT HE MANDATED OTHERS TO NOT DO
Finally, there’s the stunning hypocrisy. Newsom and the First Partner eschewed state public health guidelines to dine with friends at a time when the governor has asked families to scale back Thanksgiving plans. News of Newsom’s fancy feast spread like wildfire on social media and was trending on Twitter Friday afternoon.
Newsom’s haute cuisine hypocrisy is a disaster for the state’s efforts to get Californians to understand the deadly threat of COVID-19. He just handed more ammunition to Republican leaders who have decried the state’s emergency shutdowns of restaurants, gyms and churches. If the governor can eat out with friends — and if his children can attend their expensive school — why must everyone else sacrifice?
Two years into his first term, and nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Newsom still can’t get his act together. If Newsom can’t get his head into the game, perhaps he should make this governor thing a one-term affair and leave the job open for someone with a desire to lead.
Happy birthday, Mr. Kinney.
DAWG SAYS: 4 TIME DIPSHIT OF THE DAY, WHEN IS THIS CLOWNS TERM UP? CALIFORNIA DESERVES BETTER.