Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office has gone on the offensive to justify Newsom’s visit to Montana despite the California state legislature banning state-funded travel to the Treasure State.
News of Newsom’s visit to Montana was first reported Tuesday by CalMatters journalist Emily Hoeven, who wrote on Twitter that the Governor’s office “had been loath to disclose the location until now.”
The Californian state legislature, in a 2016 law, forbade any “state agency and the Legislature from requiring any of its employees, officers or members to travel to, or approving a request for state-funded or state-sponsored travel to, any state that, after June 26, 2015,” enacted laws assumed to be anti-LGBT.
According to a list published by Democratic California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office, the states to which state-funded travel was banned included Montana alongside Texas, Florida, Indiana and Idaho.
Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia were added to the list in 2021 after the states passed what Bonta deemed to be “anti-LGBTQ+ legislation” intended to “ban transgender youth from playing sports, block access to life-saving care or otherwise limit the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community,” according to a June 2021 news release from the attorney general’s office.
Although Newsom’s office did confirm Friday that the Governor had left the state to spend time with his family, it did not specify where Newsom was until Tuesday, CalMatters reported.
The governor’s office said that Newsom did not book his return ticket yet, although he is expected to return to the state in the upcoming weekend and resume his duties on Monday, according to CalMatters.
“We are not in the business of regulating where people have family or where they spend their vacation,” Newsom’s communication director Erin Mellon told SFGate when asked why Newsom’s office did not initially disclose the Governor’s whereabouts.
“Nor will we persecute them for visiting their family. The press shouldn’t either,” Mellon said.
One of Newsom’s communication officers attacked CalMatters’ Hoeven over her report, replying to her mockingly on Twitter, “SCOOP! The travel ban applies to using state funds. The Governor’s travel is not being paid by the state.”
SCOOP! The travel ban applies to using state funds. The Governor’s travel is not being paid by the state. Connecting the two is an attempt at gotcha journalism that is neither gotcha nor journalism. The governor is on a vacation with his family. He will return later this week
— Anthony York (@anthonyyork49) July 6, 2022
“Connecting the two is an attempt at gotcha journalism that is neither gotcha nor journalism. The Governor is on a vacation with his family. He will return later this week,” Senior Communications Advisor Anthony York added.
One user wrote in response to York’s Tweet, “This is the Sr Comms Director. So why did he keep secret where he was going?” York replied, suggesting that Hoeven was sharing “fake news.”
“Fake news. How do you think she found out? We told her,” York replied.
Newsom’s office did not specify whether state funds were used to provide Newsom security during his stay in Montana.
“We don’t comment or provide details on the governor’s security,” York told CalMatters
Newsom was slammed online for his visit to a state he had recently criticized for its policies on abortion.
“Hypocrite Gavin Newsom showed us all that he’s still a hypocrite by vacationing in Montana, which the state has lambasted for being anti-LGBT and on its way to an abortion ban,” Townhall web editor Rebecca Downs wrote on Twitter.
“Honestly Newsom vacationing in Montana wouldn’t even be news if the Democratic-led California leadership didn’t virtue signal about banning travel to nearly half of the nation’s states,” another user wrote.
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