While introducing a plan to require state employees to show proof of vaccination or undergo regular COVID-19 testing, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday took the opportunity to criticize several prominent conservatives, including Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Fox News host Tucker Carlson and GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
“We are exhausted, respectfully, exhausted by the ideological prism that too many Americans are living under,” Newsom said. “We’re exhausted by the Ron Johnsons and the Tucker Carlsons; we’re exhausted by the Marjorie Taylor Greenes. We’re exhausted by the right-wing echo chamber that has been perpetuating misinformation around the vaccine and its efficacy and safety.”
Newsom also criticized the “politicization” of safety measures, such as mask ordinances that Greene and others have compared to the Holocaust, as “disgraceful” and “unconscionable.” (Greene later apologized, though she continues to oppose mask ordinances and was recently suspended from Twitter for 12 hours for sharing vaccine misinformation, according to the Washington Post.)
“Increasingly, it is being called out, and I want to acknowledge that, and I want to applaud particularly Republican leaders that have had the courage to call that out. And I hope more and more will do the same,” Newsom said.
Later in the day, Newsom and Greene traded barbs on Twitter.
Newsom also on Monday compared the decision to remain unvaccinated to someone who chooses to drive while intoxicated and “put everybody else’s life at risk.”
“That’s the equivalent of this moment with the deadliness and efficiency of the delta virus, you’re putting other people’s — innocent people’s — lives at risk,” Newsom said. “You’re putting businesses at risk. You’re putting at risk the ability to educate our kids by getting them back in-person full-time for in-person instruction.”
Those who are listening to the “pundits that are profiteering off misinformation” are incurring a “real societal cost,” Newsom added.
“We need to be more clear about that, and we need to call that out,” he said. “And so, we are doing just that in our state, and increasingly, we’re seeing that with leaders of all political stripes across this country, and that is indeed encouraging.”