Fresno City Councilman Nelson Esparza was one of several California Democratic Party officials who blasted a recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom at a virtual news conference on Tuesday.
Even though a recall is a Constitutionally-protected and legal activity in California, state party chairman Rusty Hicks called it a coup attempt.
“This recall effort, which really ought to be called the California coup, is being led by right-wing conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, anti-vaxxers in groups who encourage violence on our democratic institutions,” Hicks said in a virtual news conference.
Calling it a coup drew pushback and unflattering media headlines.
“Violence and Vandalism has NO place in this recall movement! This is a peaceful revolution. We will NOT allow the media or Gavin Newsom conflate ANTIFA style mob violence with what we do! We will not be goaded into something we are NOT!” the Recall Newsom campaign wrote on its Twitter.
Esparza wouldn’t go as far to agree a recall is a coup.
“While some of the language used, I think, may have been a bit strong, ultimately, I think the point of the press conference was to make folks aware that the recall effort is associated with some of these real fringe elements,” Esparza said on Wednesday.
Violence and Vandalism has NO place in this recall movement! This is a peaceful revolution. We will NOT allow the media or Gavin Newsom conflate ANTIFA style mob violence with what we do! We will not be goaded into something we are NOT!
— #recallgavin2020.com (@recallgavin2020) January 13, 2021
Esparza Blasts Capitol Protests
Esparza and others on Tuesday attempted to link recall supporters to those engaged in the riots in Washington last week.
“Unfortunately what we are seeing is that some of the same folks who participated in this un-American assault on democracy, are the same folks who are behind the effort to recall Governor Newsom right here in California,” Esparza said.
Esparza blasted the rioters, calling their use of the American flag offensive. He also said attempting a recall during a pandemic is a misuse of time.
“Instead of focusing on the real issues, Republicans are busy pushing their political agendas,” Esparza said.
Speaking with GV Wire℠ the day after, Esparza said fringe groups including QAnon, white supremacists and the Proud Boys support the recall.
He stopped short lumping them in with the Republican Party and others groups such as those frustrated with business and school closures as well as the vaccine roll out.
“That’s not fair to say that anyone who’s Republican is associated with these fringe elements,” Esparza said.
This is the fifth attempt to recall Newsom. Proponents need to gather 1,495,709 valid signatures by March 17 to qualify the effort for the ballot.
The California Secretary of State says that as of Dec. 22, proponents submitted 500,000 signatures, including 27,000 from Fresno County. Recall effort leaders said recently they have now gathered over 1 million total signatures.