It didn’t hurt that on Monday, Newsom sent 500 ventilators to seven states, including the particularly hard-hit New York and New Jersey.
The message: California provides. The subtext: Because the federal government isn’t.
But Newsom said Wednesday his actions shouldn’t be taken as a critique of the federal government’s supply distribution.
Newsom: “This is not political, this is not in any way, shape or form usurping or undermining, this is all in the spirit of all of us stepping into this moment and doing what we can.”
President Donald Trump has taken a mostly hands-off approach when it comes to coordinating purchases of protective equipment and medical supplies. States have been competing with each other in an escalating bidding war for limited resources, and the governors “have to work that out,” Trump said. With the federal government stepping back, governors with national political ambitions, particularly Newsom and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have stepped up, CalMatters’ Ben Christopher reports.
Newsom: “We need to coordinate and organize our nation-state status as we can only in California with our procurement capacity that is quite literally second only to the United States itself.”
In response to concern that California could be taking resources from others, Newsom added:
“We are not just looking at supplies in a scarce marketplace where it’s a zero-sum game. We are being additive. … California, in this case, has been a catalyst to increase supply that will not only avail itself to the state of California but more broadly across this country and potentially in other parts of the globe. And so that’s how we perceive our role … not trying to drive up more competition, but advancing the framework of collaboration.”