California Gov. Gavin Newsom has joined former President Donald Trump’s social media application, Truth Social.
Newsom, a Democrat, wrote that he was “Going to be on there calling out Republican lies” on his personal Twitter account on Thursday.
“This could get…interesting,” he added.
The move is the latest addition to Newsom’s portfolio as an outspoken critic of conservative states’ policies on issues like abortion and guns. He’s said he wants California to be a “reproductive freedom state” in the face of abortion bans. Following the recent mass shootings, he push for more rigorous gun control policies.
Such national messaging from a governor is often an indication of presidential aspirations. But Newsom told the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board last month he had “sub-zero interest” in the job.
“Governor Newsom is fed up with Republican leaders embracing misinformation and conspiracy theories to score political points and further divide the nation. Facts matter,” Alex Stack, a spokesman for the governor, said in a statement sent to The Bee. “The Governor will be providing folks on this platform a reprieve with facts and truth, like how commonsense gun laws reduce gun deaths.”
In his first post — a “Truth,” as the company calls it — Newsom questions why eight of the top 10 states with the highest murder rates are classified as red states.
“I know we’re all on this platform in search of the ‘truth,’” he said in the video that he also posted on Twitter, “but the truth is, I’ve not been able to find a simple explanation for the fact that we have a red state murder problem.”
The statement draws from a report that cites a correlation, rather than causation, between states with the highest murder rates per capita and ones that voted for the Republican candidate in presidential elections since 2000.
In an alert to this reporter’s phone at 6:13 p.m. Eastern Time, Truth Social wrote” California Governor Gavin Newsom joins Truth Social! Don’t Miss his first post.”
As of that time, Newsom had 1.74k followers and had a verification check, much like the kind used on Twitter for political figures, celebrities and news affiliates.
“Please welcome the Governor of California @realgovnewsom40 to Truth Social! Welcome to freedom Governor thank you for joining Truth Social!” posted former Congressman Devin Nunes, the social media company’s chief executive.
TRUTH SOCIAL’S WOES
Trump’s media company, Trump Media and Technology Group, launched Truth Social in February 2022, promoting it as a place for free speech in a social media world where, Nunes said, it is too often suppressed.
“Honestly, it’s just, it’s actually very moving for me to see people that are on the platform that have had their voice canceled,” Nunes told Fox News of Truth Social’s launch in February. “And that’s our main goal here is to give people their voice back.”
Nunes, who represented the area around Tulare in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly two decades, left office to become CEO in January 2022.
The social media app closely mirrors Twitter, which banned Trump following the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Newsom is one of a few Democrats on Truth Social.
In an October 2021 Morning Consult/Politico poll of registered voters, 72% of Democratic respondents said that they did not expect to use the then-upcoming Truth Social at all.
Eighty percent of Republicans queried said that they would use the application at least a little. This week, a couple of Democrats who said that they posted about the ongoing January 6th Committee hearings reported that they had been suspended from Truth Social.
The company denied these claims in a statement to The Washington Times.
The app claims the right to ban anyone “for any reason or for no reason” under Section 19, “term and termination,” of its terms of service.
Potential users have been barred for other reasons. Mike Ortega, a web developer, attempted to sign up for the app as “DevinNunesCow.” The handle is a nod to the Twitter account owned by a person Nunes is trying to sue for defamation.
“This incident clearly demonstrates Trump and Truth Social’s claims to protection of free speech is a bunch of bull. The platform is nothing more than right-wing extremism’s safe space,” Ortega told The Bee in April.
A spokesperson for Truth Social’s parent company did not respond to a request for comment.
RED STATES AND MURDER RATES
Newsom’s post is drawn from a March 2022 report published by Third Way, a think tank that describes itself as “center-left,” that found eight of the 10 states with the highest murder rates in 2020 voted for a Republican in each presidential election since 2000.
The group gathered murder data from all 50 states between 2019 and 2020, the most recent years that comprehensive data was available, drawing from government crime reports and local news sources.
They compared the calculated per-capita murder rate and categorized the states by their 2020 presidential pick. Third Way’s analysis doesn’t align with other data.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 10 states with the highest homicide rates in 2020 were Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Illinois, and New Mexico.
Illinois and Maryland have gone to Democrats in all presidential elections since 1992, according to 270toWin, which tracks election data.
New Mexico went to Republican George W. Bush in 2004 but has otherwise narrowly gone for the Democratic presidential candidate since 1992.
NEWSOM’S FIRST ‘TRUTH’
Here’s what Newsom says in the video under the heading, “Here’s the truth…”:
“Hey everybody, it’s Governor Gavin Newsom, and I know we’re all on this platform in search for the ‘truth,’ but the truth is, I’ve not been able to find a simple explanation for the fact that we have a red state murder problem.
“Eight of the top 10 states with the highest murder rates happen to be red states. The question is simple: What are the laws and policies in those states that are leading to such carnage?”