Toward the end of his news briefing on the state of California’s multiple emergencies, California Governor Gavin Newsom was challenged about the changing nature of his rhetoric on Donald Trump’s policies.
A reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle highlighted the fact that the governor sent out toughly-worded fundraising email after his meeting with Trump on Monday about the state’s fires.
In the email Newsom said, “I confronted the President about what’s happening here…If you’re able, pitch in $10 or any amount so we can continue pushing for action on climate change at every level, and standing up to climate deniers everywhere.”
Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he “wasn’t trying to score political points” during his meeting with Trump. Today’s fundraising email from his campaign: pic.twitter.com/x0n0GMHGKV
— Sophia Bollag (@SophiaBollag) September 15, 2020
But on Wednesday the reporter told Newsom that his tone when in the room with Trump on Monday was “a rather soft one in which you basically agreed to disagree” on climate change.
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In fact, Newsom said exactly that to Trump on Monday.
“We can agree to disagree on the politics,” said Newsom staring across the table from Trump. He went on to point out that the federal government is responsible for the majority of the California forests that are burning.
Contrast that with Newsom’s fire-breathing rhetoric when visiting the North Complex Fire on Friday.
“I’m very proud of California’s leadership,” he said standing the the ashes of what once was a forest, “in the absence of national leadership.”
He went on to say that climate change denial is “BS that’s being spewed by a small group of people who adhere to a 19th century framework. You can exhaust yourself with your ideological BS. We are not going back to the 19th century.”
As a result, Newsom observed, “We’re involved in dozens and dozens of lawsuits against an administration that doesn’t believe the same way we do. We’ve won and we will keep winning. And we will prevail.”
At the news conference on Wednesday, the Chronicle reporter maintained that this tone-switching “fits a pattern in which you have not confronted him on these issues when you have the chance face-to-face.”
Newsom rejected the characterization saying, “We directly confronted the president of the United States 48 hours ago on climate change…in the presence of the president of the United States.
“We’ve been forceful in our policymaking,” continued Newsom. “We’ve been forceful in our rhetoric.”
Newsom then went on to say the state was involved in over 100 lawsuits with the Trump administration, with the majority addressing environmental issues. “We have not been shy,” he said.
Speaking specifically about vehicle admission standards, Newsom told reporters that he had been working “to undermine the president’s efforts to vandalize the progress that was made under the Obama administration on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
“We’ve worked with Ford and many others to advance that cause,” he said.
“I’m asserting,” continued the governor, “that despite the work we’re doing against the administration in our litigation strategy, we’re still making progress at a sub-national level.”
“I think the most determinative thing will be advanced in November,” he said, presumably referring to the election.
Watch Newsom’s news conference below.