California’s Newsom picked Halloween with kids over U.N.

Nov 9, 2021, 11:23 AM | Updated: 5:54 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he chose to take his children trick or treating on Halloween instead of discussing climate change with world leaders in Scotland, explaining the decision to abruptly cancel his trip and then recede from public view for nearly two weeks was driven by the simple desire of a working parent to spend more time with his kids.

Newsom’s comments, delivered Tuesday at an economic summit in Monterey, came after increasing media coverage and criticism from Republicans about his whereabouts and what he was doing. His last public event had been Oct. 27 when he got a coronavirus booster shot and then two days later his office issued a brief statement saying he was canceling his travel plans for unspecific “family obligations.”

His staff would not answer questions about where he was or what he was doing for much of that time. However, photos over the weekend published in Vogue showed Newsom attending the wedding of Ivy Love Getty, the granddaughter of the late billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty whose family members have been major donors to Newsom’s campaigns.

By Monday, Newsom’s absence had prompted speculation about his health, mostly among conservatives on social media who rallied around the hashtag #wheresgavin. Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, added to the intrigue on Sunday night with a since-deleted tweet telling people to “please stop hating and get a life.”

But Tuesday, Newsom said his absence was nothing more than a chance to recharge with his family after a frenetic three years in office that included an unprecedented pandemic, record-breaking destruction from wildfires, a drought and fighting for his political life in only the second gubernatorial recall election in state history. Newsom beat back the recall in September and then spent the next several weeks considering hundreds of bills passed by the Legislature.

Climate change is a signature issue for Newsom, who many believe has aspirations of running for president some day. Attending the conference would have given him the opportunity to tout his climate change initiatives, which include banning sales of new gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035 and raise his profile with world leaders.

But as the trip neared, his children took the initiative.

“I’ve been on this damn treadmill, we’ve gone from crisis to crisis,” Newsom said. “The kids, literally, they kind of had an intervention. They said they couldn’t believe that I was going to miss Halloween.”

Newsom said for his kids, who range in age from 5 to 12, missing Halloween is worse than missing Christmas. “I had no damn choice; I had to cancel that trip,” he said.

Newsom’s comments earned applause from the audience and praise from his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature, many of whom blamed the governor’s political opponents and the media for blowing the story out of proportion.

Assemblyman Ash Kalra tweeted that had Newsom attended the conference, he would have been criticized “for traveling overseas instead of staying home attending to the state.”

“He just can’t win,” Kalra said.

Wesley Hussey, a political science professor at Sacramento State University, said Newsom could have prevented much of the fuss if he had simply said at the outset why he wasn’t attending the conference and taking a step back from public appearances.

“I think this is an example of where the governor and his press operations need to be aware of social media and distortions and always being in front of the story,” he said. “I think we should know what the governor is up to and give the governor space when he needs family time. And I think that those can go together.”

Neither the governor nor his representatives said why they didn’t offer details about Newsom’s whereabouts before this week. On Monday, Newsom’s office said the governor had been working in the Capitol on “urgent issues, including COVID-19 vaccines for kids, boosters, ports, the forthcoming state budget and California’s continued economic recovery.”

Newsom routinely has multiple public appearances each week. He relishes his role as leader of the nation’s most populous state, which if it were its own country, would have the world’s fifth-largest economy. That’s what made his absence following his sudden withdrawal from the climate conference so curious.

“A governor’s absence is always a matter of public concern. That’s especially true for a governor claiming sole authority to control people’s lives through a ‘State of Emergency,'” tweeted Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who ran for governor in the recall election. Kiley has repeatedly tried and failed to convince his colleagues in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature to limit Newsom’s emergency powers during the pandemic.

Newsom’s allies quickly came to his defense on social media. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a San Diego Democrat, tweeted that Newsom “is a husband & father of 4 young children who worked his butt off nearly every day during this pandemic & was rewarded by facing a ridiculous partisan recall election. I don’t care what he’s taking time to do with his family, he deserves time off.”

When he emerged Tuesday, Newsom added details of his week out of the spotlight. He went to his kids’ soccer tournament and took them trick-or-treating, having quickly obtained a pirate costume to join them. He said he brought his children to the Capitol last week, participating for the first time in tourist traditions like taking a selfie with the statue of a grizzly bear — the animal that appears on the state flag — outside of the governor’s office.

The children also got coloring books that are regular handouts from the Senate president pro tempore’s office.

“It’s been probably the most productive week I’ve had since I’ve been governor,” Newsom said.

___

Associated Press reporter Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento contributed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Editorial Roundup: United States

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad: Aug. 16 The Washington Post on Mohammed bin Salman and Saudi brutality: Salma al-Shehab, the mother of two young children, was studying for a PhD at the University of Leeds and took time off to go home to Saudi Arabia for a vacation. Ms. Shehab […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization talks to the m...
Associated Press

WHO chief: Lack of help for Tigray crisis due to skin color

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization described the persistent crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region as “the worst disaster on Earth” and wondered aloud Wednesday if the reason global leaders have not responded was due to “the color of the skin of the people in Tigray.” In an emotional statement at […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Chad Isaak, right, of Washburn, sits with his defense team during the third day of his murde...
Associated Press

Report faults prison guard’s checks in ND murderer’s suicide

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An investigation into the prison suicide of a man convicted in a 2019 quadruple slaying in North Dakota found that he had covered his cell window with cardboard and a guard failed to follow proper procedures in conducting required checks. The investigation report from the state Highway Patrol said Chad Isaak, […]
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Sweden presents plan to tackle high winter power bills

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden’s government said Wednesday it wants to pass legislation forcing the country’s public power transmission network operator to help alleviate this winter’s expected high electricity bills for Swedish households and businesses. Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, whose Social Democratic minority government faces parliamentary elections next month, said the proposal would cost Svenska kraftnat […]
10 hours ago
FILE - A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sign stands at the entrance of their offices in...
Associated Press

CDC director announces organization shake-up aimed at speed

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of nation’s top public health agency on Wednesday announced a shake-up of the organization, intended to make it more nimble. The planned changes at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — CDC leaders call it a “reset”– come amid ongoing criticism of the agency’s response to COVID-19, monkeypox […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Lebanese Journalist Dima Sadek uses her cellphone to make a video of an anti-government prot...
Associated Press

Attack on Rushdie shows divisions among Lebanese Shiites

BEIRUT (AP) — The stabbing of author Salman Rushdie has laid bare divisions in Lebanon’s Shiite Muslim community, pitching a few denouncing the violence against fervent followers of the Iran-backed Shiite militant Hezbollah group who have praised the attack. One Rushdie defender received death threats. The attack struck close to home among Lebanon’s Shiites. The […]
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
California’s Newsom picked Halloween with kids over U.N.