Vice President Kamala Harris visited a water treatment plant in San Leandro with Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday, touting a new Biden Administration initiative and reiterating White House support for Newsom against the recall effort against him.
Flying in from Los Angeles, Vice President Harris met with Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Senator Alex Padilla, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), before meeting with Governor Newsom at the San Leandro treatment plant. There, both Harris and Newsom praised President Joe Biden’s controversial American Jobs Plan, a program that would invest in infrastructure around the U.S., create jobs, and improve civic utilities such as ensuring clean drinking water. At the plant on Monday, Harris noted that the plan would allocate $111 billion to water infrastructure alone, benefiting plants such as the San Leandro facility.
“This facility and this group have really been doing work that is a model for the country,” said Harris on Monday. “Drinking lead will kill our children -literally.”
Governor Newsom added to the Vice President’s remarks.
“We talk a lot about infrastructure,” added Newsom. “We have the ability to deliver on it. And for the vice president to be here to be delivering not only a package for consideration to Congress, but even delivering on the priorities that we hold dear here in the state of California is extraordinary.”
Harris defends Newsom during San Leandro visit
While many have criticized Biden’s plan for unduly raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and failing to address climate change needs, observers noted that the plan seemed secondary in Harris’ visit, as she spent more time touting and defending Newsom due to his impending recall election. Despite the recall effort gathering more than two million signatures, and having all but assured a recall election sometime later this year, the White House has been throwing more and more support Newsom’s way. Three weeks ago, Harris defended Newsom through a phone call. Dr. Jill Biden, the first lady, also took time during a visit to Delano, Cal. last week on Cesar Chavez Day to once again say that the President was behind him. Monday was only the latest show of support.
“He has been a real champion in California and outside of California on California priorities,” said Harris of Newsom on Monday. “You know, I’ve known him for a long time. He’s been invested in these kinds of issues that really are issues that are not only challenging California as a state, that are national in scope. So there’s a lot of good work being done, and I think that there’s no question that there are other priorities that I think he is handling well. And for that reason, I’m supporting him.”
Many have noted that presidential support this early on in a recall attempt is unusual, even in today’s political climate.
“If you look back 18 years ago, you didn’t have a lot of huge defenders this early on,” former lobbyist Harry Schultz said in a Globe interview. “[Former Governor Gray] Davis did manage to get former President Clinton on his side, but it was only a few months before the recall election. And he had hired him as an advisor at that. This though. It’s not even official yet and the White House is coming to his aid. This isn’t normal. They’re afraid that he’ll lose. You may not see it since Newsom is putting on a brave face, but if he is already getting support from Washington now, Newsom is definitely, at the very least, concerned about losing this. The first lady interrupted honoring Cesar Chavez to praise Newsom, now Harris sidetracked an important infrastructure program speech to support him.”
“This isn’t normal. They are worried.”
Newsom is expected to collect more Washington support in the coming weeks before the final recall signature tally is announced.