90 Miles From Tyranny : Betrayal? California Gov. Newsom Helps Chinese Get $1 Billion in COVID Aid

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Betrayal? California Gov. Newsom Helps Chinese Get $1 Billion in COVID Aid

No, really, reader of The Western Journal. I swear I’ve learned my lesson this time: Don’t give Democratic governors the benefit of the doubt.

I thought I’d learned it the first time. When New York’s Andrew Cuomo looked like he was showing strong leadership in the opening week or two of the coronavirus crisis, I thought maybe we could put aside our petty differences and praise a politician from the other side. In fact, I did just that. And then it all ended in tears.

It wasn’t the rambling, empurpled news conferences that made the much-criticized presidential media briefings look like relative models of restraint. No, for me the moment I made a clean break was when I learned the much-hailed hand sanitizer production program Cuomo was fond of touting consisted of little more than inmates rebottling an outside product inside the Empire State’s prisons in order to make the governor look good.

I figured that’d disabuse me from the practice for a while. But then began my flirtation with Gov. Gavin Newsom of California. And no, not the kind of flirtation that involves having a job for Newsom while being his alcohol-clouded mistress of and married to his best friend.

Instead, I’m talking about the kind of flirtation that involves praise for his work in combating COVID-19 in his state. Unlike Cuomo, who presides over the biggest coronavirus hotspot in the world, Newsom has done an admirable job of keeping his state’s two major metropolises under control in that respect.

In fact, despite being America’s most populous state by a rather wide margin, California has slightly more than 5 percent of America’s coronavirus cases, and despite having 2.2 times the population of Los Angeles, New York City has 22 times the coronavirus deaths LA does. No. I didn’t misplace a decimal point.

I also didn’t misplace a decimal point when California announced a $1,000,000,000 outlay to purchase N95 respirator masks. And then, alas, reality set in.

How harsh? Consider the fact that conservative Newsmax and the liberal Los Angeles Times both hit him for what he did.

According to the Times, the problem wasn’t the cost of the masks — or where the money was going to, although that was equally problematic — but the lack of any details regarding the deal.

“The governor’s advisors have so far declined requests for information about the agreement with BYD, the Chinese electric car manufacturer hired to produce the masks, though the state has already wired the company the first installment of $495 million,” the Times reported.

“Newsom, who has been praised for his efforts to slow the spread of the disease, bristled on Saturday at suggestions that his administration has been too slow to explain a deal that will cost California taxpayers 30% more than his January budget would spend on infectious disease prevention for an entire fiscal year.”

Furthermore, he hasn’t bothered to brief the California Legislature on what, exactly, he agreed to.

“I must emphasize, that’s a big deal,” GOP state Sen. Jim Nielsen said during a legislative oversight hearing Tuesday. “And what is in the contract that ensures the deliverability — timely — is going to be really, really important. At the least, we cannot be just throwing out a false hope to people.”

The details sound impressive. Newsom’s office says it can buy 200 million N95 masks at an impressive price from BYD, heretofore known for its electric vehicles, using its state buying power. This may, in fact, be an accurate appraisal of how the deal would work — assuming, that is, BYD can convert its...

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