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Why is Security Fortified for Gov. Newsom’s Press Conference?

Bomb-sniffing dog checks reporters’ bags and equipment before press conference

By Katy Grimes, February 19, 2019 1:18 am

Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra. (Katy Grimes for California Globe)

At Friday’s press conference Gov. Gavin Newsom had with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, State Capitol police had a significantly beefed up presence, and even used a drug and/or bomb-sniffing dog checking out reporters’ and media equipment. Why?

Gov. Gavin Newsom very publicly criticized President Donald Trump last week as he pulled California National Guard troops from the Mexico border, claiming any border crisis was “manufactured” and all “political theater.” However, 100 troops will remain at the border conducting security operations around ports of entry, supporting federal efforts to combat drug and gun trafficking. “The 100 soldiers who will stay at the border have special training in narcotics search and seizures as well as expertise in transnational criminal organization intelligence,” CNBC reported. “Newsom said the drug and gun trafficking concerns are real, but he dismissed the president’s claims of a crisis due to undocumented immigration.”

White House Police Crackdown on Press

A February 15, 2019 article in RollCall reports how U.S. Capitol police really cracked down on White House reporters after the budget bill vote, not allowing them to talk to Senators “in a location known as key territory for lawmakers and media to mix: the Senate basement.”

I reference in my article Friday that when California Capitol reporters arrived at the Governor’s press conference room for his press conference with AG Becerra, all were required to put all of our bags and media equipment on the floor and allow a bomb-sniffing dog to check it all out.

Not only has this never happened before (except under the most extreme security issues), most of the California Capitol reporters are “friendlies” with Governor Newsom and Democrats – quite the opposite of the hostile White House press corps.

White House media have CNN’s Jim Acosta to thank for the media crack down. Acosta had his White House press badge revoked when he attempted to debate President Trump at a press conference after the President had already answered his question. And then Acosta treated an intern deplorably and shoved her when she tried to retrieve the microphone to hand over to another reporter.

It is important to note this was a glaring omission in the RollCall article. They never once address that the police were obviously ordered to beef up the security because of badly behaving White House media – even as recently as last week.

But it is indeed interesting that Capitol police got so aggressive. “Capitol Police did not give reporters any immediate explanation for the heightened security and forceful tactics in an area where reporters and lawmakers usually interact without incident,” RollCall reported. “But a spokesperson later said Capitol Police officers “observed significant pedestrian crowding in the area of the Senate subway” ahead of the spending bill vote Thursday.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom Ratcheted Up Police Presence

Since Gavin Newsom has been in the Governor’s office he’s ratcheted up his police force dramatically. This is a far cry from former Gov. Jerry Brown, known for flying on Southwest Airlines with one police detail traveling with him.

Newsom’s administration has also instructed the Capitol police to keep the hallways clear of reporters and Capitol visitors when Newsom and his team are walking to and from press conferences. Again, this was never done and is so different from the Brown administration and the former governor.

In 2008, when he was Mayor of  San Francisco, ABC7 asked, “Compared to all recent San Francisco mayors, Gavin Newsom has used the most police escorts. But are they for security or for show? That is the question tax watchdogs, city supervisors and at least one former mayor are asking.”

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had plenty of security around him wherever he went because he is “Arnold.” But he also had a friendly policy toward the press and often held informal meetings in the Governor’s personal conference room, with everyone sitting in a circle, chatting with the governor.

It’s curious why Gov. Newsom would have more police presence for himself, when he doesn’t believe it is necessary for people living on or near the border, with known dangerous drug traffickers moving narcotics, coyotes trafficking women and children, and transnational criminal organizations crossing the border daily.

Newsom, who shunned the recently-renovated California Governor’s Mansion in downtown Sacramento in favor of a 8-acre walled/gated compound in suburban Fair Oaks, hails from Marin County, the only county in the state to be exempted from the state’s affordable housing mandates until 2028.

Katy Grimes

Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California's War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?
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2 thoughts on “Why is Security Fortified for Gov. Newsom’s Press Conference?

    1. Maybe the added Police and security might be for angry husbands who have wives that Gavin Newsom cheated on HIS wife with? Or maybe Gavin’s afraid someone will smuggle in booze, and Gavin won’t be able to resist chugging it down, as he’s an admitted alcoholic.
      Drunk, cheating on your wife, and hoplophobic is no way to go through life, Gavin.

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