‘The eyes of the nation are on California’: Biden, Newsom hit campaign trail on eve of recall

PHOTO: Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

President Joe Biden hit the campaign trail on Monday evening alongside incumbent Governor Gavin Newsom on the eve of election day. Biden was welcomed with rousing chants of ‘Joe’ from the crowd and opened up by reiterating his support for Newsom.

“Of course, the reason I’m here, and you all are here, is to thank and support our friend, Governor Gavin Newsom,” Biden said. “One of the best governors in the country.”

Biden told the crowd that the “eyes of the nation” are on California, and likened leading Republican frontrunner Larry Elder to former President Trump — a comparison Newsom has also made. The former president lost California by nearly 30 percentage points in 2020, and Newsom won his first gubernatorial election with 62% of the vote. Recent polls suggest Newsom will yet again emerge victorious with a similar margin.

“All of you know last year I got to run against the real Donald Trump,” Biden said, signing a cross on his chest as laughter echoed from the crowd. “Well, this year, the leading Republican running for governor is the closest thing to a Trump clone that I have ever seen in your state.”

The president added: “He is the clone of Donald Trump. Can you imagine him being governor of this state? You can’t let that happen.”

Some of Elder’s recent conduct has all but earned him that comparison. Elder has repeatedly floated baseless claims of election fraud and, earlier on Monday, refused to commit to accepting the results of the recall election.

As previously reported, a new petition has been added to Elder’s website asking voters to contest the election. The website, which was largely paid for by Elder’s campaign, falsely claims that “statistical analyses” has revealed voter fraud that handed the election to Newsom — despite numbers not yet being available.

When NBC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff asked Elder if he will accept the results of the election, whether he loses or not, the 69-year-old conservative radio host began to dodge the question.

“I think we all oughta’ be looking at election integrity,” Elder said. “No matter whether you’re a Democrat, an independent, or a Republican.”

Newsom’s event with Biden serves as the latest appearance from a big-name political figure to speak out against the recall effort, with top Democrat politicians including Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Barack Obama cutting commercials and hosting rallies with the governor.

Biden told the crowd that the recall election’s outcome will have an impact on the entire world, and lauded Newsom’s performance on issues including COVID-19.

“Voting no will be protecting California from Trump Republicans trying to block us from beating this pandemic,” Biden said. “Gavin Newsom has had the courage to lead, stand up for science, for the very thing he’s been one of the leading governors in the nation — protecting people and vaccinating his state.”

When Newsom took the stage earlier in the night, he also stressed a comparison between former President Trump and Larry Elder.

“We may have defeated Donald Trump, but we have not defeated Trumpism,” said Newsom.

Election day for the recall is September 14th. The election is primarily vote-by-mail, with over 8.4 million pre-election ballots having been cast so far. If Newsom survives, he will be able to finish his term before he comes up for re-election next year.