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So goes the Glorious 2024 Hope of Democrats — from the French Laundry frying pan into the LGBTQIA++ fire. Gavin Newsom just aired an ad in Florida lecturing California’s burgeoning ex-pat population in the Sunshine State how much freedom they’re losing, especially in regard to sexual choices and women’s rights. After launching that salvo in clear anticipation of the 2024 election cycle, California’s governor left for vacation– but his office stalled on answering questions as to where he went.
And for good reason, as CalMatters reporter Emily Hoeven discovered. After griping about Florida’s lack of liberty on such matters, Newsom went to Montana for his time off — a state that Newsom had barred California officials from traveling to conduct business on the very same issues Newsom highlighted in his lecture:
It was information that the governor’s office appeared loath to disclose. Although the office said Friday the governor had left California to spend time with family, it did not until Tuesday answer questions about where he was or when specifically he would return, a noticeable difference from communication surrounding other recent out-of-state trips. (A spokesperson said Tuesday Newsom hasn’t yet booked his return trip, but that he will return to California over the weekend and be back in the office on Monday.)
The governor’s office didn’t respond to a question about why that information wasn’t initially shared. But one possible reason could be that Montana is among the 22 states to which California has banned state-funded and state-sponsored travel, citing policies it deems discriminatory to LGBTQ+ people.
Montana is also one of the states Newsom’s office has called out for restricting abortion access. His office said in a June 24 press release that Montana will likely ban the procedure following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, though local outlets say abortion is likely to remain legal there for the foreseeable future.
Newsom’s spokesperson attempted to push back on the clear implication of Hoeven’s report. Anthony York insisted that Newsom has never legislated that Californians, even its state officials, must avoid Montana and the other 21 states on Newsom’s travel-ban list for personal holidays. However, York clammed up when Hoeven offered an obvious follow-up question:
Newsom spokesperson Anthony York says CA doesn’t legislate where people vacation & the travel ban only applies to spending state funds. He says CA is not paying for Newsom’s travel.
Asked if the state is paying for his security, York says the office doesn’t comment on security.
— Emily Hoeven (@emily_hoeven) July 6, 2022
If Newsom has his security detail with him in Montana — and it’s almost certain that he does — then he’s violating his own travel ban for California employees by forcing them to travel to the state.
And of course, this is hardly Newsom’s first eruption of hypocrisy. While Newsom mandated social distancing, mask wearing, and school closures in the COVID-19 pandemic, he got caught at the haute cuisine restaurant French Laundry participating in a maskless, multi-household indoor birthday party in November 2020. Just to remind everyone, that was before vaccines became available for COVID-19 (the FDA issued the first emergency-use authorization a month later). That almost cost Newsom his job, as anger over his elitism and disdain for following his own rules nearly led Californians to recall him from office.
It’s not even Newsom’s first hypocrisy over summer vacation. Last year, while Newsom kept schoolchildren locked down in schools and masked up in camps, he sent his own kids to a maskless summer camp, at least until the press got wind of it. And let’s not forget that while Newsom kept public schools closed, he also sent his own kids to a private school with hybrid learning in place:
Signatures in support of the recall spiked last November after he was caught dining maskless at the expensive French Laundry restaurant while telling Californians to avoid gatherings of more than three households. He also took heat from critics for sending his children to private school that adopted a hybrid learning schedule as most public school students remained in distance learning.
In one way, Newsom’s ad in Florida was correct. You can find freedom in California … as long as your last name is Newsom. The rules won’t apply to you in that case, but only to everyone else.
One has to wonder just how much backlash Newsom will get from LGBTQIA+ activists for spending his vacation cash in a state that Newsom himself should be shunned over their policies. If Joe Biden was in the least bit competent, those activists would crucify Newsom over this. Since Biden is now widely viewed as not just incompetent but also possibly non compos mentis, don’t expect too much blowback. Newsom may be all they have in 2024.