California Governor Gavin Newsom tried to reframe the political narrative on crime Saturday, claiming that America has a “red state murder problem,” rather than a problem of homicide in Democrat-controlled cities across the nation.
Newsom was speaking with Elex Michaelson, host of The Issue Is podcast, on the occasion of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. He claimed the media had inflated the broader significance of the recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
Newsom, a former mayor of the city, said that the recall had been “so predictable,” and that he had “enjoyed it,” though he argued that nothing about the recall “warranted the attention nationally as some arbiter of something farther-reaching.”
Whe he acknowledged that Democrats “absolutely” bear some responsibility for the crime wave in San Francisco, Newsom said that Republicans are more to blame for the nationwide crime wave, and blamed media bias for the focus on California.
There are cities all across the country with those same issues. What’s interesting is how focused we are on a number of California cities. I mean, there was just an analysis of the 65 cities with the highest murder rates. California had two cities. L.A. and San Francisco weren’t even on the list. And two-thirds of the cities were in Republican states. I mean, you look at the murder rates in the United States of America — this is not to abdicate any of our responsibility here in California — we own it, and we have to take responsibility for doing more, better, but what’s going on with the red state murder problem in America? Eight of the top states with the fastest-growing murder rates in America are Republican states — really nine, when you consider one of those two, happens to be Georgia. That’s a fact. You look at places like Bakerfield, California. Kern County is the murder capital of California. Kern County. Republican sheriff, Republican D.A., Republican mayors, Kevin McCarthy’s backyard. But that’s not what you’re seeing on the nightly news.
Newsom was referring to a February report by CBS News on the cities with the highest murder rates, the vast majority of which are governed by Democrats, and have been governed by Democrats for generations. (Chicago, notorious for shootings in recent years, is only No. 28.) Radical Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) also referred to the CBS list recently:
In addition, Newsom appeared to be referring to a report that claimed that states that voted for Donald Trump in 2020 made up eight of the top ten states with the highest murder rates, with Georgia as the ninth “Republican” state on the list.
What these efforts have in common is that they tend to ignore the political party that actually controls the cities in which the murder rate has soared. (In Kern County, which had a much lower homicide rate a decade ago, the city has been infiltrated by a war among rival prison gangs.)
Notably, in 2019, Newsom endorsed Boudin’s political ally, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, who now faces a likely recall election of his own. He did not comment on the Gascón recall effort.