Gavin Newsom is not a very good liar. The California governor, who recently issued a coronavirus ruling prohibiting Christmas and Thanksgiving gatherings of more than 10, or members of more than three different households, has broken his own rules. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Newsom attended a birthday party for a lobbyist at the ultra-lux Wine Country restaurant French Laundry. Six couples were present at the maskless, non-socially distant soirée, including functionaries from the California Medical Association, which advises the governor on the pandemic measures.
After putting the state on yet another lockdown, a shifty-looking Newsom recorded a video explaining what happened at that $400-a-plate affair. Naturally, he blamed his wife:
‘I was asked to go to my friend’s 50th birthday…my wife and I…friends that I’ve known for almost 20 years, and the friend who invited…well, put a lot of time and energy into his 50th birthday that was in Napa, which was in the orange status, relatively loose compare to some other counties. It was at an outdoor restaurant [fact check: false]… as soon as I sat down at the larger table, I realized it was a little larger group than I had anticipated, and I made a bad mistake. Instead of sitting down I should have stood up, and walked back, gone to my car, and drove back to my house. Instead I chose to sit there with my wife, and a number of other couples that were outside the household.’
This is not the first time Newsom, 53, has thrown a wife and best friend under the bus. In fact, drama has followed Gov. Hairgel for most of his public life. Back in 2005, Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, was married to future Fox News personality Kimberley Guilfoyle, who is now dating Donald Trump Jr. Local press billed the couple as the next JFK and Jackie; the two were photographed reclining on the carpet at the Getty mansion in the city.
In 2005 Newsom cheated on Guilfoyle with Ruby Rippey-Tourk, the wife of his best friend and then-campaign manager Alex Tourk (for some reason San Francisco City Hall is awash with sex scandals: Mayor London Breed and Public Works Director Mohammed Neru, Mayor Willie Brown and…well…). Although at the time, Ruby Rippey-Tourk was Newsom’s appointments secretary when he was running for governor, she said that she didn’t view the affair as a #MeToo moment, which was enough to shift the discussion from the public sphere. I don’t think an ordinary California peasant could get away with such an explanation.
Newsom’s excuse for breaking his best friend’s marriage was as follows:
‘I acknowledged it. I apologized for it. I learned an enormous amount from it.’
Doesn’t that sound awfully similar to how he addressed the French Laundry scandal?
‘When this happens, you got to pay the price, and you have to own up the mistake, and you never make it again, and you have my word on that.’
It’s not clear what price was paid in 2007 when the cheating scandal broke out. Newsom blamed his drinking; he then claimed he went to rehab. Only he didn’t. He went into counseling at the Delancey Street Foundation, a nonprofit rehabilitation center in San Francisco that specializes in substance abuse treatment and helps ex-convicts and homeless people. According to her recollection, after a year and a half of attendance, the Foundation’s President Mimi Silbert reasoned that maybe Gavin can resume drinking:
‘Let’s see what happens at this party… In all honesty, I don’t think — not that anybody can ultimately know these things — I don’t think he’s a straight-up alcoholic.’
That’s the woman charged with helping San Francisco’s homeless.
While this was all unfolding, a short time after his affair, Newsom was dating a woman half his age. She had been photographed holding a wine glass at high-end social gatherings despite being 20.
It’s not hard to figure out why Gavin Newsom can get away with it all: like Jerry Brown and Nancy Pelosi, he is a creature of the San Francisco political machine. Newsom’s father was a best friend of Gordon Getty; he was in charge of delivering ransom during the Getty kidnapping incident. The San Francisco machine picked Newsom and groomed him for governorship, with the eye on the presidency.
With the advent of COVID, Newsom got in a habit of ruling by decree, issuing hundreds of executive orders. Thanks to the efforts of California GOP lawmakers Kevin Keilly and James Gallagher who sued the governor over the orders, the judge declared them unconstitutional. Still, it’s obvious that Newsom is very much a governor in the ‘I am your Führer, and one day I will be president’ mold, to borrow from the Dead Kennedys’ ‘California Über Alles’.
The San Francisco machine saddled California with a golden boy lacking any kind of decency, seriousness or loyalty. Newsom treats his women the way he treats his friends and the way he treats his constituents. He gives off the vibe of a man who floats downstream, his affairs arranged for him should something go wrong.
With California elections being notoriously murky, and, in any event, a population self-selected to exhibit obedience, I’m not sure Newsom is a problem that can be rectified at the ballot box. The San Francisco machine politician will win the Democratic primary, and the Democratic nominee will win in the general election. Perhaps next time the Pelosis and the Gettys could groom a better candidate, a ruler who might even care a jot about Californians.