(CBS SF/CNN) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the results of California’s recall vote a “sound win” for the Democratic Government. Gavin Newsom’s approach to the Covid-19 pandemic specifically referred to the state’s strong vaccine requirements.
Newsom has faced a partisan recall effort driven by frustration with the pandemic and the government’s response to strict Covid restrictions. But Biden said the results of Tuesday’s recall, which determines whether Newsom will be impeached before his term ends, is a vote of confidence in the approach of California voters.
“This vote is a great victory for our shared approach to defeating the pandemic: strong vaccine requirements, strong steps to safely reopen schools, and strong plans to distribute real medicines, not fake cures, to help those who are sick,” Biden said in a statement.
“The refusal of voters in both the traditionally Democratic and traditionally Republican areas of the state to refuse the recall shows that Americans are united in taking these steps to put the pandemic behind us.”
In July, it was announced that California would demand it. all government employees and health workers provide proof of vaccination status or have regular testing. Last month, Newsom announced teachers and other school staff they must either be vaccinated against Covid-19 or undergo regular testing. A similar regulation is also in effect for state health workers.
And last week, a board voted to require all eligible students attending Los Angeles Unified public schools, the nation’s second-largest school district, to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of the calendar year.
Efforts to enforce California’s vaccine requirements came about as the Biden administration explored how to create federal mandates for Americans, including US air travel.
Biden recently published new vaccine requirements that include an as-yet-drafted rule that all employers with more than 100 workers must request vaccinations or regular testing. Newsom said last week that she supports Biden’s condition.
Biden campaigned for Newsom on election eve, calling the governor’s foremost rival – conservative radio host Larry Elder – a “clone” of former President Donald Trump.
The president told his supporters that voting against the recall would protect “California from the Trump Republicans who are trying to stop us from beating this pandemic.”
A Newsom adviser told CNN that Biden’s eleventh hour visit “surprised” the governor and the President’s aides believe a strong demonstration can give Democrats and independents a stronger sense of confidence as the administration fights for masks, vaccinations and more.
As a candidate, Elder has pledged to roll back most of Newsom’s Covid restrictions and said in an interview with CNN last month that he “absolutely wouldn’t want” California state employees to be vaccinated or tested once a week or to wear masks if elected. It’s at work as Newsom ordered.
Biden also tried to show what would happen if Elder was elected, based on the actions of current Republican governors during the pandemic.
“People are doing everything they can to block or undermine the life-saving orders we propose, putting their people at risk, putting their children at risk, putting their state at risk,” Biden said. “And here’s the worst. For these Republican governors, it’s not public health, it’s the health of the people. It’s about politics.”
Newsom’s message to voters underlined that the recall was a “life or death” election, promising that his top priority was to keep them safe.
This message helped turn the tide of the competition, especially late this summer when fears of the Delta variant emerged, drawing a stark contrast between his response to the resurgent virus and what the Elder could do as governor. .
Tuesday night’s exit poll suggested that the message may have reached voters who listed the coronavirus as the most pressing issue facing the state.
According to a California exit poll conducted for CNN and other news, about 45% of voters say Newsom’s pandemic policies are about right, with about a third calling its policies too strict and the rest saying it’s not strict enough. Networks by Edison Research.
Newsom was also backed by strong turnout among Democrats in the state, who nearly beat Republicans by 2 to 1 but initially seemed uninterested in the race.
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