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“Absolutely, we see this as an opportunity reshape the way we do business and how we govern,” he said during a virtual press conference.
The remark came near the end of a long, winding answer to a question about whether he saw “the potential” in the crisis for “a new progressive era” in state and national politics.
“That shouldn’t put shivers up the spines of one party or the other,” he said. “I think it’s an opportunity anew for both parties to come together and meet this moment and really start to think more systemically, not situationally, not just about getting out of this moment.”
In the course of giving his answer, Newsom specifically referred to growing income inequality and a squeeze on the middle class as issues “we’ve long been struggling to address.”
“Something was fundamentally flawed in that global context, manifested quite acutely here in the state of California, the richest and the poorest state,” he said.
In terms of the measures he’s taken to respond to the coronavirus so far, Newsom was among the first governors to issue a statewide shutdown in a bid to slow the spread, and he called on all states to do so.
Like governors across the country, he’s issued a slew of executive orders in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. They range from a stay-at-home order to measures to address the needs of individuals and businesses struggling to stay afloat during the crisis -- including a moratorium on evictions.
Still, Newsom’s answer appears reminiscent of an infamous comment former Obama adviser and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made in a 2008 interview about the economic crisis with the Wall Street Journal: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that, it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”
Emanuel repeated that remark again two weeks ago as lawmakers were mulling how to respond to the coronavirus crisis, although in a different context.
“Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” he said in an appearance on “This Week” on ABC. “Start planning for the future. This has to be the last pandemic that creates an economic depression. We're going to have more pandemics, but this has to be the last economic depression.”
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.