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‘We’re experts in hindsight’: Newsom Pleads Ignorance on COVID-19 Overreach

‘We’re experts in hindsight’: Newsom Pleads Ignorance on COVID-19 Overreach

Three-and-a-half years after the dawn of his iron-fisted pandemic rule, California Governor Gavin Newsom has claimed he “would’ve done everything differently” with the benefit of hindsight.

As reported by Politico, Newsom made the admission during a taped interview with Meet the Press.

“I think all of us in terms of our collective wisdom, we’ve evolved. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. We’re experts in hindsight. We’re all geniuses now,” Newsom told host Chuck Todd.

When pressed on which of his measures deserved critique, Newsom replied, “All of it’s legitimate in terms of reflection.”

Even so, Newsom made certain to diffuse the blame, telling Todd, “It was hardly I; it was we, collectively.”

Newsom’s words come as cold comfort to Californians who were subjected to some of the harshest COVID-19 restrictions in the nation.

His eleventh-hour mea culpa has also raised the ire of those with a longer-than-convenient memory and those who sided with experts sounding the alarm on lockdown harms from day one.

Responding to the news on X, formerly Twitter, investigative journalist and Managing Editor of RedState Jennifer Van Laar compiled an impressive laundry list of Newsom’s vexing conduct in the COVID-19 era.

Consider a sampling from Van Laar’s list.

As COVID-19 began to spread, Newsom enacted a one-month stay-at-home order. Disregarding constitutional protections, he refused to deem churches “essential,” opening them up to punitive litigation, and even prompting one pastor to turn his church into a “strip club” so it could remain open.

In April 2020, Newsom closed beaches and state parks, but only in conservative stronghold Orange County, where authorities had vocally pushed back on the governor’s dictates.

Several months later, in one of the grubbiest moves of the COVID-19 era, Newsom closed down all indoor dining, museums and theaters across California just weeks after giving the green light to Black Lives Matter riots.

Later in the year, Newsom’s government unveiled Thanksgiving restrictions that made many choke on their turkey: No more than three households could gather for no more than two hours; events had to be held outdoors, though guests could enter homes to use the restroom; attendees had to maintain a distance of 6 feet from one another and wear masks, which could be removed only to eat or drink; musicians were allowed, but wind instruments were discouraged … the tedious list went on.

Even as most of California’s school kids were still barred from returning to in-person learning, Newsom’s children were back in the classroom at their Sacramento private school, a revelation the governor only admitted months after the fact.

Around the state, playgrounds were cordoned off, youth sporting leagues were mothballed, summer camps were all but cancelled, and tragically, an 11-year-old California boy committed suicide during a Zoom class.

In November 2020, Newsom infamously violated his own orders by wining and dining with a large group of friends at The French Laundry, a Michelin three-star restaurant in Napa Valley. Just days later, he enacted a “nightly curfew” for 90 percent of the state.

As recently as December of last year, Newsom signed legislation that would strip medical licenses from doctors who disagree with his government’s narrative on COVID-19.

Most notable about Governor Newsom’s COVID-era conduct is that it was misguided not merely in hindsight: Much of it was self-evidently crooked at the time.

Reacting to Politico’s piece, another user on X provided a helpful list of what we knew about the virus and when we knew it.

Again, a sampling:

By March 2, 2020, we already knew COVID-19 was likely much less dangerous than predicted.

By March 9, 2020, we already knew COVID-19 was really only a severe risk to the elderly.

By March 12, 2020, we already knew severe mental health problems were likely from prolonged quarantine.

By March 15, 2020, we already knew stopping elective surgeries was unnecessary and dangerous.

By March 25, 2020, we already knew about the terrible health impacts of crushing the economy.

By March 28, 2020, we already knew lockdowns would cause increases in addiction, suicide, and crime.

By March 28, 2020, we already knew lockdowns would cause increases in domestic abuse.

By March 30, 2020, we already knew children were not the primary spreaders of COVID-19.

By April 15, 2020, we already knew there was barely any transmission from outdoor activities.

By April 16, 2020, we already knew school closures weren’t helpful and caused great harm.

“We’re experts in hindsight,” Newsom has quipped. “We’re all geniuses now.”

By Newsom’s own definition, a great segment of the population were experts and geniuses from the earliest days of the pandemic.

Perhaps what was needed to carve a better path through the valley of the shadow of COVID-19 was not so much expertise or genius, as humility.

Is humility too much to ask from Governor Newsom?

Given that his recent remarks were made as he flirts with a White House bid,  it isn’t likely that the governor of the Golden State has discovered humility.

But there’s always hope, isn’t there?

Image credit: “Gavin Newsom” by Gage Skidmore on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Kurt Mahlburg
Kurt Mahlburg

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