Gavin Newsom, the actor and former congressman who won the Democratic nomination for California governor, told Democratic voters on Sunday that they would be placing their fate in the hands of “punitive” Donald Trump and could not trust a Republican governor to defend abortion rights if Roe v Wade were overturned.
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Newsom, who defeated Antonio Villaraigosa to claim the nomination on Saturday, said in an appearance on CNN that Republicans in Congress would work to defund Planned Parenthood, strip away women’s healthcare insurance and remove women’s abortions from healthcare plans in the event Roe v Wade were overturned.
“Just that alone, we wouldn’t trust an outcome,” Newsom said. “I don’t believe in Donald Trump. The minute that happens, I will do everything to make sure that California becomes a sanctuary state.”
Newsom said that none of the candidates would stand up to Trump on issues of health care and abortion, echoing Trump’s remarks about family separations at the border.
“We have every candidate out there saying they’re going to uphold Roe v Wade,” Newsom said. “Good luck to them.”
The White House responded to Newsom’s remarks on Sunday with a shot of its own.
“Unfortunately California politicians aren’t above using the power of their office to advance their own campaign strategy over the law and women’s health,” a spokeswoman for the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement. “This is yet another example of the California values that we see as exemplified by Trump.”
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Newsom, a Bay Area assemblyman, is considered the frontrunner in the race to succeed George Deukmejian, who served two terms as governor from 1979 to 1986.
The state Democratic party planned to vote on the fate of the historic open primary ballot at its convention on Sunday and voted in support of the proposed “unity ticket” – a campaign being led by Antonio Villaraigosa and Newsom – that would be the standard lineup in November.
Newsom said that his current job as lieutenant governor would help him win over voters in November. He was a mayor of San Francisco before he ran for Congress in 1998 and lost.
Newsom also ran for Congress again in 2002, losing.
He is expected to face a primary challenge from John Chiang, a state treasurer who spent six weeks this year unsuccessfully trying to wrest the Democratic nomination for California treasurer away from the current controller, Betty Yee. Chiang formally announced his candidacy on Sunday, citing his record of fighting Republican efforts to cut the state’s budget.
Democrats currently hold all statewide offices in California and have a one-seat majority in the state’s legislature.