Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom Accused of Trespassing on Burned-Down Property for Photo Op


We’ve all heard before that weather and climate aren’t the same.

Usually, we’ve heard it in the context of when your old cranky uncle, in the midst of an April blizzard, posts something on Facebook about how “Al Gore needs to get his facts straight about this global warming stuff.”

We don’t hear that often, however, when there’s a weather-based tragedy that the left can blame on climate change. The latest round of California wildfires are like that — particularly now that a California Democrat is on the presidential ticket.

Thanks to those factors, you end up getting photo ops like this:

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Sen. Kamala Harris had the good graces to keep the climate change debate out of the matter and thank the firefighters and volunteers who are helping put out the blaze and diminish the damage. Nobody could argue against that, except for reasons we’ll get to in a moment.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, meanwhile, did what Harris was unwilling to do in his tweet using a similar photograph from the same property:

Wonderful. Again, not surprising. What was surprising was the fact that neither of them seemed to realize that property rights still exist even if your house has burned down.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Trampas Patten expressed outrage that Harris and Newsom seemed to be on his parents’ property — property his parents had been forbidden from returning to since the fires began.

“What has me really frustrated right now is the fact that these two politicians used my parents loss for a photo opportunity to push their political agenda!” Patten wrote.

“Political party wouldn’t have made a difference in this moment. Decent human beings that have character and class, wouldn’t air someone else’s misfortune on national television!”

Patten said that people should “[t]hink about this when you go to the polls in a few weeks to vote.

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For the friends of mine that don’t recognize the fireplace in the background, that is what is left of my parents house!…

Posted by Trampas Patten on Tuesday, September 15, 2020

“Look at this picture closely, imagine it is what is left of your hard work, hopes, dreams, place of sanctuary. Do you want this kind of leadership, using you and your loss for political gain?!”

And while his parents hadn’t been allowed there, both Harris and Newsom were using their property for their own political purposes.

“For the record, my parents haven’t even been let back in yet themselves, to sort through what is left of their lives, but these two felt the need to go traipsing around my parents property without permission,” Patten wrote.

“I guess those property taxes my parents pay allow politicians to do this! Private property doesn’t exist in California anymore!”

According to KMPH-TV, similar comments were made by Bailee Patten, Trampas’ sister.

“When we saw those photos, it was — there aren’t words, because it’s like, we haven’t even seen our house. We haven’t seen our property. There is no house, we haven’t even seen our property,” she said.

Do you think Sen. Kamala Harris and California Gov. Gavin Newsom owe the family an apology?

“This isn’t just devastation, this is our lives. This is where we grew up, these are our memories. And to not have that — to feel so helpless — and I guess that’s what we’ve all been thinking, is that we were so helpless. Because we weren’t there, we haven’t gotten to deal with our loss. Instead, we’re having to watch it play out on social media and news.”

The photo op happened during this week Harris and Newsom’s tour of Fresno County, California, which was filled with plenty of moments both for the camera and for the scribes, according to KMPH.

“The fire just swept through. So everything is gone except the chimney,” Joe Biden’s running mate told reporters as she looked at what was remaining from the burned-out houses. “Those chimneys, they remind me — when you look at a neighborhood that’s been wiped out, those chimneys remind me of tombstones.”

“It’s snowing ashes. That’s been the narrative of the state of California. Record fires. Record heatwaves,” Newsom said.

And, if the Patten family is correct, record hypocrisy.

Capitalizing on someone else’s tragedy by going onto their property, taking pictures and then using them for your own political gain won’t improve anything.

It won’t end climate change.

In fact, if it ends up getting out, it’ll merely distract from the climate change message in the first place.

No matter how correct the cause, there’s nothing that gave Harris or Newsom the moral right to do this. (It’s even questionable whether or not they had the legal right to be there, given the circumstances.)

If this is true, Harris and Newsom owe the Pattens an apology. People’s property shouldn’t be used for staged photos to score points for one’s agenda.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture