As Gavin Newsom was sworn in Monday as the 40th Governor of California, amid promises of inclusiveness and “a decent standard of living for all,” he quickly turned his attention to President Donald J. Trump, promising an administration that will be “an alternative to the corruption and incompetence in the White House.”
“Our government will be progressive, principled and always on the side of the people,” Newsom said.
Reminiscent of Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural address, the former San Francisco mayor and Lt. Governor spoke in pleasing platitudes, but with few specifics:
“What we do today is even more consequential, because of what’s happening in our country,” Newsom said, speaking as if California is a sovereign nation. “People’s lives, freedom, security, the water we drink, the air we breathe — they all hang in the balance. The country is watching us. The world is waiting on us, the future depends on us, and we will seize this moment,” he said.
“We have the resources to ensure a decent standard of living for all. We created 3 million jobs,” Newsom said, referring to Gov. Jerry Brown’s last few years.
Newsom spoke of California dramatically “lowering greenhouse gas emissions” and then meeting the goals. “So much happened under the watch of Gov. Jerry Brown,” Newsom said to a standing ovation for the former governor.
Looking a little too perfectly timed, partway into Newsom’s address, 2-year-old Dutch, the youngest of the four Newsom children, meandered onto the stage, binky in his mouth, and dragging his blanket. Newsom picked him up and continued with his speech, promising that the state will support parents, “especially in those critical early years.” The crowd cheered.
Newsom stressed California “is not going to have one house for the rich, or for the poor, but one house for California. Because what is a house but a home? And California is our home,” he added. “And not just children of a governor and a filmmaker should have a home in California,” Newsom said. “Children should not be ripped away from their parents at the border… and millions for a wall that should not be built,” he added.
Newsom addressed some of his campaign promises:
“We need to stop stigmatizing mental health,” Newsom said. “We will always protect a women’s right to choose.” He promised to protect the right to join a union, to cheers from the audience.
“When trouble comes we will stand together,” Newsom said. “I learned as Mayor of San Francisco, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
“I will partner with Mayors and Sheriffs all over the state,” Newsom said. “I intend to represent all Californians, not just those who voted for me.”
“I see you and care about you and will represent you with pride,” Newsom said. “This notion that we are all in this together is a powerful one, and how I was raised.”
“No matter what comes at us, I will have your back,” he added. “Now more than ever, America needs California. That is our calling. Now let’s get to work.”
Just as Newsom was taking the oath of office, Frontline blogger Ben Bergquam disrupted the swearing-in yelling, “blood on your hands,” in an apparent reference to Newman police officer Ronil Singh who was killed last week by an undocumented immigrant. Bergquam was removed immediately as he yelled about California as a Sanctuary State. Spectators chanted “Gavin! Gavin!”
Then security came back and removed another journalist, who had not said a thing. He began yelling “First Amendment!” “This is like removing Jim Acosta of CNN…what about Freedom of the Press?”
Attending the ceremonies were former Gov. Jerry Brown, recalled former Gov. Gray Davis, his replacement former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Former State Treasurer Phil Angelides, University of California President Janet Napolitano, and current and former members of the State Assembly and Senate. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye performed the swearing-in.