Biden heads to western US amid wildfires and California recall

President Biden is traveling to the western United States on Monday to tour the wildfire damage and campaign for California Governor Gavin Newsom, who is facing a recall effort. Mr. Biden will appear alongside Newsom just hours before polling stations open across the Golden State.

The appearance of the campaign chair for Newsom in Long Beach, Calif., Crowns months of careful coordination between Newsom, California Democrats, and National Democrats, including some of the other big names in the party: Former President Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who have all campaigned in person or on the air for governor.

The president’s appearance on the night of the last full day of the campaign comes a few days later than originally expected, but the withdrawal of US military forces of Afghanistan and the federal response To Hurricane Ida occupied much of Mr. Biden’s time in recent weeks.

In the words of a senior official, the president is eager to campaign for Newsom because “we are going to have the backs of people who support us.”

Aides familiar with Mr Biden’s plans said his remarks Monday night would focus on three key areas of concern: leadership during the pandemic, the dangers of climate change and the nation’s need to focus on it more intensely, and the perceived threats to women’s rights as a result of Texas’ new abortion law – and how the three subjects might be affected if the Republicans took control of the country’s largest state.

The president is about to argue that Newsom effectively ruled the state during the pandemic and in a much more responsible manner than the governors of several Republican states. Aides doesn’t expect the president to explicitly call on governors of states like Florida or Texas, but to make the larger argument that the Democratic Party leadership during the pandemic is successful. Of course, the President will argue this at a time when COVID-19 cases continue to rise amid the spread of the delta variant and ongoing legal and political struggles in several states over whether the mask warrants and vaccine can effectively fight the virus.

On climate change, Mr Biden is expected to credit Newsom’s leadership in California during historic wildfire seasons – a point that will be amplified earlier on Monday when the president stops to visit wildfire damage in northern California. And on women’s rights, he should draw attention to new Texas law that bans abortion procedures after the first six weeks of a pregnancy and is about to argue that other states led by Republicans may soon take similar action.

Administration officials stress that the recall election should be treated as a political anomaly and not spark a wider debate on what the results might mean for next year’s midterm elections, as Democrats are currently expected to lose control of the House and fight to win in other key governor positions. or Senate competitions.

The last recall came 18 years ago when an unpopular Democratic governor Gray Davis lost to Arnold Schwarzenegger, arguably the biggest name in the GOP in a much wider field of candidates.

“This is not an apples to apples comparison,” said the senior assistant.

But a Newsom victory will likely signal Democrats elsewhere that opposing the pandemic policy proposed by the GOP could help train grassroots voters and win independents next year. For weeks, Newsom has argued about the strain and in the ad that handing responsibility for California’s response to the pandemic, wildfires and other key issues to Republican candidates like the Radio talk show host Larry Elder might prove too risky. Recent polls show the strategy can work, as opposition to the recall – and Newsom’s impeachment – outstrips support to oust him.

Mr. Biden is first in Boise, Idaho, at the National Interagency Fire Center. There are currently 22 fires raging in Idaho, which have burned more than 200,000 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

“More acreage has burned down than the entire state of New Jersey,” he said in a wildfire briefing with state and local officials in Idaho.

There, the president advocated for his Build Back Better program, insisting that the country must build the country’s infrastructure to be better than it was before such natural disasters due to change. climate.

“We cannot continue to try to ignore reality,” Biden said. “Barack, President Obama always used to joke me, I was like, ‘You know, reality has a way.’ Well, you know the reality is that we have a global warming problem – a serious global warming problem. And that’s a consequence, and what’s going to happen is things are not going to turn back this way. that they were. It’s not like you can rebuild to what it was before. It’s only going to get better today. It can only get worse, not better. ”

Mr. Biden will also visit the damage caused by the wildfires in Sacramento, California. Two massive fires in northern California, the Dixie Fire and Caldor Fire, both reached 65% containment over the weekend. The Dixie Fire, which has been active for 60 days, burned more than 900,000 acres. The Caldor fire, active since August 14, burned more than 200,000 acres.

On Tuesday, Mr. Biden will travel to Denver, Colorado for a Build Back Better event.

President Joe Biden chats with California Governor Gavin Newsom via teleconference during a meeting with governors to discuss ongoing efforts to strengthen wildfire prevention, preparedness and response efforts, and hear from firsthand the ongoing impacts of the 2021 wildfire season in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus in Washington, Friday, July 30, 2021.

Andrew Harnik / AP

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