California Gov. Gavin Newsom picked a prominent minority state official to replace presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the Senate. This would, ordinarily, be a moment of celebration for the kind of people who use the word “intersectionality” and don’t have to stifle a smile.
But, it turns out that California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is the wrong kind of minority.
According to The Associated Press, Newsom picked Padilla — a personal friend and the son of Mexican immigrants — to fill Harris’ spot until 2022, when the presumptive vice president-elect would have been up for re-election normally.
I can think of no one better to represent the state of California as our next United States Senator,” Newsom said in a tweet.
While he acknowledged the pick would make history — Padilla would become the first Latino senator from the state — Newsom said that “the [Alex Padilla] I know is far more interested in changing history — especially for the working men and women of our state and country.”
In a video announcement that reeked of wooden coordination, Padilla got teary at the thought of the sacrifices his parents made; according to CNN, one was a cook and the other a cleaner after they immigrated to the country.
“I’m honored, man, and I’m humbled, because of them,” Padilla said.
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In any other year, this would have been a slam-dunk pick, but Padilla is a Latino man and Kamala Harris is a black woman. If you haven’t updated your grievance org chart recently, Harris is the only black woman in the Senate, and not replacing her with the next black woman in line was seen as a slap in the face — particularly to San Francisco Democratic Mayor London Breed.
In case the name sounds familiar, Breed is the politician who attended a dubious party at The French Laundry — an expensive Michelin-starred eatery in the Napa Valley — one day after Gavin Newsom did. Both were raked over the coals, particularly given their dining restrictions and tough talk regarding socializing among those outside your immediate family without wearing masks.
Apparently, they only have the same taste in eateries, not in senatorial picks.
“It was definitely a surprise and it’s an unfortunate situation as we are trying to move this country forward in making sure that black lives truly matter and that African-Americans have a seat at the table, especially African-American women,” Breed said during a virtual news conference Tuesday, according to Fox News. “After what was done in this race on a national level, definitely is unfortunate.”
“The sad reality is [Harris] was the only African-American woman in the Senate at this time, and when you think about the history of this country and the challenges that exist for African-Americans especially … this is a real blow to the African-American community, to African-American women, to women in general,” she added, SFGate reported. “I think it’s really challenging to put it in words.”