Gov. Gavin Newsom Talks Vax Cash Drawing and Politics, Plus: His Message for Jen Aniston
“Extra’s” Billy Bush went one-on-one with California Governor Gavin Newsom right after he announced his historic Vax for the Win program to get more Californians vaccinated by June 15.
The Governor announced that all Californians age 12 and over who are at least partially vaccinated are automatically eligible for cash prize drawings taking place in June.
Newsom told Billy, “This is not a lottery… You don’t have to opt in, everybody’s automatically enrolled for those $15 million on June 15, for those $50,000 prizes on June 4 and 11. Everybody who has got at least one shot since the beginning of the pandemic.”
The initiative will hand out $116 million, which includes 10 winners receiving $1.5 million, 30 winners taking home $50,000 and two million newly vaccinated people receiving $50 gift cards. Get all the details here.
Billy asked, “I’m doubled vaxxed — I got a chance?”
Newsom replied, “I excluded a lot of people — you’re not excluded.” Turning to “Extra’s” cameraman Joey, Newsom said, “The cameraman is in the mix, he’s shaking his head like, ‘Yeah, yeah… gotta be in it.’”
Billy joined in, saying, “Come on, Joey, you got to be in it to win it.” The Governor laughed and agreed, saying, “That’s right — you’ve got to be in it to win it and this is as we say ‘Vax for the Win.’”
He went on, “I think the cost of not doing something innovative, novel, I think outweighs the cost of doing this, and this is a $116 million-dollar commitment. It’s time-limited, and we’re going to drive hard through June 15.”
Bush said, “The vaccines, COVID in general, has been politized like crazy. Both parties going after each other like mad, right? You’re in the political fight for your life right now — do you take that personally?”
He said, “No, I don’t take any of it personally, what I do take personally is as an American citizen is how just corrosive our politics have become.” He went on, “This is a hell of a thing, where we are in this country, to see masks polarized, to see vaccines polarized, to see this country divided on the basis of geography, not just race and ethnicity, and by what you’re watching on TV or social media and the blog you’re reading. It’s just depressing as hell as an American citizen.”
Reflecting on the pandemic, Billy asked him, “As a leader, it’s a good thing to be able to say, ‘Yeah, I could have done this better.’ What do you think you could have done a little bit better?”
Newsom answered, “I think there’s 100 things, and I think only in hindsight, you’re not just an expert, you’re a genius.”
Billy, “Can you give a guy like [Gov. Ron] DeSantis in Florida a little credit for the fact that, you know, he didn’t shut down a year. He was open and the numbers are comparable.”
Newsom said, “Every state is unique and different. Let me give you an example. We’re in Los Angeles, seven times the density to Miami. It’s not even comparable, so you can’t compare states… I don’t take cheap shots. The only cheap shot I did take, it’s not even a cheap shot it was an observation, was concern around dropping these masks a little earlier than I thought was responsible in many states.”
What does he think tourism will look like when restrictions lift on June 15? “The only significant hindrance to going back to our original form, and that normalcy that we all look forward to, is massive-scale, indoor events, north of 5,000, we want some modification, some considerations so we don’t see any disease.”
And for all the parents out there, Billy asked about the California classrooms and schools. “With the vaccinated teachers, can the masks be off in the classroom?” Bush asked.
“I want the kids back in the classroom, first and foremost,” he said, adding, “We’ll follow the CDC guidelines on masking, but all of our kids will be back [to full in person] instruction and we want that triggered not just in the fall.”
Billy ended the interview on a lighter note, asking if Gov. Newsom will be watching "Friends: The Reunion" over Memorial Day Weekend. Newsom laughed, saying, "I thought you were gonna be like, the Dodgers versus the Giants. Will it be the Lakers versus..."
Ultimately, he said he's in! "Yes, Jennifer, I'll be watching!"