California Gov. Gavin Newsom hit back against those accusing him of lifting lockdown restrictions for political reasons, dubbing the accusation “complete and utter nonsense.”
On Monday, Newsom lifted some of the most severe lockdown restrictions in the hard-hit state, with some critics saying this was due to mounting political pressures, including an effort to recall the governor.
Newsom stated that ICU projections and dropping hospitalizations were the reasons for his change in policy.
“Effective immediately, all the regions in the state of California, recall there are five regions that we have defined when we established our stay-at-home order last month, all regions effective immediately are no longer in the stay-at-home order and will move back into the blueprint, a blueprint many of you are familiar with, the blueprint we refer to as a blueprint for a safer economy,” said Newsom.
“The critics are saying this online, that this decision today comes amidst a recall campaign, comes amidst lawsuits, and they say that the timing on this is arbitrary and convenient based off of that. I want to give you a chance to respond to people that are saying that,” asked Fox 11 reporter Elex Michaelson.
"That's just complete, utter nonsense, so let's just dispense with that fundamental foundationally nonsense,” Newsom replied.
Newsom’s efforts to lift the lockdowns come amid other Democratic efforts to lift previously stringent policies that forced small businesses into closure and left millions unemployed amid the pandemic. Many Democrats called for lockdown orders to be lifted as soon as President Joe Biden stepped into office last week.
A recall effort to remove Newsom from office has surpassed 1.2 million petition signatures. Should the number exceed 1.5 million, the state of California will have a vote to officially decide whether Newsom will remain in office.