Newsom: California 'prepared' for possible election unrest

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SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that California is “prepared” and ready for the possibilities of civil unrest and protests in the wake of election results as business owners continue boarding up shops in major cities.

California saw large peaceful protests, but also violent chaos, after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this year. Residents in the blue state are bracing for the same after the election, especially if the outcome remains in dispute.

“Everybody’s prepared … everybody’s taking it very seriously — not just here in California, but all across the country,’’ he said. “And I can assure you, we’re taking it very seriously, at all levels. We’ve been working with federal partners for a number of months now candidly, sharing information. And obviously working with local and county partners in anticipation that there may be protests.’’

Newsom said that while he believes most demonstrations will be “peaceful and appropriate,” state officials are “obviously preparing for those that may get out of control.”

He made the statements while at Manny’s, the Mission District political hotspot where he texted hundreds of Pennsylvania voters as part of an Election Day get-out-vote swing. With California a lock for Democratic candidate Joe Biden, Newsom also spent Sunday in Nevada trying to turn out Democratic voters.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday told Fox and Friends that he expected unrest, rioting and looting in some major American cities in the wake of the election — and he specifically mentioned Oakland, Calif.

“I think it’s very sad and part of the reason is it’ll all be in Democrat cities, Democrat-run cities,” Trump said in an interview with “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning, pointing to New York City, Baltimore, Portland, Chicago and Oakland as examples. “And that’s because of weak leadership. Their weak, weak leadership.”

Appearing at the get-out-the-vote event with Newsom, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf responded, “I’m very proud to be hated by President Trump — and may that relationship continue in that way.”

Schaaf said the President’s comments underscore why “it is time to have a leader that is ready to heal our nation. We are sick, not just from coronavirus, not just from racism, but from the divisive and spiteful politics. The hatefulness that Donald Trump has used to divide America is despicable.”

Newsom said Tuesday his biggest concern about election night isn’t demonstrations, he said, but “just the ambiguity of outcome — extending the Election Day into election days, weeks.”

“I’m worried about false statements, misleading manipulative assaults on the process,” he said. “Counting ballots, making sure that everybody is being respected in that process and every vote is being tallied … that’s my biggest concern.”

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