Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s political situation is “dangerous,” Arnold Schwarzenegger told CNN’s Dana Bash on Wednesday.
“There’s millions of people out there that are dissatisfied, dissatisfied with the way the corona was handled, dissatisfied with the fires,” the former two-term governor said. Schwarzenegger compared Newsom’s election prospects to those of Gray Davis, who the action star replaced as California governor in 2003. Davis is the only governor in state history to be recalled.
Davis was recalled amid an economic recession and rolling blackouts, a political situation that Schwarzenegger described as “exactly the same” as today’s.
“The atmosphere is exactly the same (as) when I ran,” he said.
In addition to Newsom’s COVID-19 lockdown policies, which he has publicly flouted, Schwarzenegger cited the state’s trouble managing its large homeless population. California has the most homeless people of any state in the U.S., and the third-most per 100,000 residents, according to Statista. Advocates have cited the state’s refusal to build new housing as a key component of the crisis. The average cost of a California home reached $600,000 in 2019, more than double the national average, according to Bloomberg. (RELATED: Apple Pledges $2.5 Billion To Help Combat California’s Housing Crisis)
“I drive by homeless people every day when I go to Gold’s Gym and I talk to some of them. They’re angry the way they’ve been pushed around and they’ve been promised things and no delivery,” Schwarzenegger said.
Schwarzenegger also pushed back on Newsom’s messaging that his recall was spearheaded by “members of the Three Percenters — the right wing militia group, the Proud Boys… folks that quite literally enthusiastically support Qanon conspiracies.”
“Almost half of the people that are running are not Republicans. So it is incorrect to say to the people that it is a Republican power grab,” the “Terminator” star said.
California’s recall process is governed by a 1911 law proposed by Gov. Hiram Johnson, a progressive Republican who believed that voters should be able to remove an elected official before the official’s term ended.
Schwarzenegger won the 2003 recall election with 48% of the vote.
A FiveThirtyEight moving average showed a virtual tie between the keep and remove options for Newsom as recently as Aug. 11, but the governor has since opened up a 12 point lead.
“It’s very dangerous for him because you got to take this stuff seriously. For too long, they didn’t take it seriously. But now I think they do take it seriously,” Schwarzenegger said of Newsom’s polling.