Newsom stresses unwavering support for Biden during wildfire press conference: 'This is serious for this state'

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) reiterated his unwavering support for President Biden’s reelection bid at a wildfire press conference on Wednesday, describing the upcoming race as a critical juncture for the Golden State.

“This is a profound and consequential moment,” the governor said. “This is all-in moment for all of us. This is serious for this state. No state has more to lose in this context.”

Responding to questions about not only California’s ongoing and devastating wildfires but also national political turmoil, Newsom fielded multiple inquiries about his continued endorsement of Biden amid growing concern about the incumbent’s age and health.

Newsom’s name has been raised as a potential replacement for the president on the Democratic ticket as some in the party have called upon Biden step aside, but the governor has continued to back the president instead.

Newsom last week visited the White House with other Democratic governors and toured multiple battleground states on the president’s behalf.

The governor was quick to defend Biden when asked by one reporter on Wednesday about a Sacramento Bee article quoting former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as saying that Biden should “do whatever he decides to do.”

Acknowledging that he had heard from his staff members about the article but didn’t have all the context, Newsom described Pelosi’s comments as “unsurprising.”

“It is obviously the decision of the president of the United States,” the governor said, quickly shifting to the “unprecedented crowds of support” for the president he observed over the weekend.

“I think I’ve had 100 media outlets asking the same question that kind of I think I’ve amply answered,” Newsom added. “That’s where I am and that’s where I stand.”

The governor also credited Biden for remarks the president made on Tuesday evening backing NATO, in an address marking the creation of the organization 75 years ago.

“The president stood firm in supporting NATO last night in contrast to President Trump, who said he didn’t even know what NATO was,” Newsom said, referring to comments Trump shared on the campaign trail in 2016.

“That’s how unserious Donald Trump is,” the governor continued. “Contrast that with the steadfast support of President Biden in his remarks last night.”

Newsom characterized Biden’s conduct as a “master class” in managing U.S. alliances, noting that “NATO has never been stronger, NATO has never been bigger.”

Reiterating the “profound” differences between the two candidates, the governor maintained his focus “on supporting this campaign, this candidate, a man of character, decency and honor.

“Contrast that with the darkness that is Donald Trump,” he said.

When about how he’s balancing his effort to bolster the Biden campaign and the ongoing crises at home in California, Newsom responded, “I need a day off.” Despite the ongoing grind, however, he expressed the “deep pride” he feels about preserving democracy.

For the “40 million strong Democrats, Republicans, Independents that have enjoyed democracy” in California, the governor said that he has “a responsibility to meet this moment.”

Then pressed directly about whether supporting Biden’s campaign has distracted him from California’s crises, Newsom had a definitive response:

“That could not be more untrue,” he said, stressing that “everything about this campaign will impact the state disproportionately.”

California, he stressed, is “the tentpole of the American economy” — the fifth largest economy in the world and the host of 16 percent of American jobs. He also recalled how the Golden State was involved in 122 lawsuits during the Trump administration.

“Don’t you guys remember that? The chaos, the fear, the anxiety, how he played politics, politics and what he referred to at the time as ‘pleasure California,'” Newsom said.

“He was serious. He said we need to rake the forests — daylight and darkness.”

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