Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) is facing criticism for reportedly being away on “personal travel” during the recent devastating winter storms that have hit several parts of the state with heavy snowfall. It remains unclear where the governor traveled as his office does not disclose such information citing security concerns.
Newsom is said to have left California on Wednesday after visiting the Diablo Canyon power plant in Avila Beach, leading to backlash from lawmakers and residents alike. According to reports, Newsom’s press team informed the media of his visit to the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant only after he had departed.
“Californians are trapped in their homes without power. More storms are on the way. And Governor Newsom has just left the state for ‘personal travel,’” Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-CA) said in a tweet on Thursday.
In a follow-up tweet on Friday, Kiley called for “a Major Disaster Declaration,” emphasizing how dire the situation has become as some Californians affected by the storms have no power and are running low on supplies.
I am calling on California’s Acting Governor, Eleni Kounalakis, to immediately seek a Major Disaster Declaration from the President. Our residents are cut off from power and basic supplies. pic.twitter.com/IobZhuWGFl
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) March 3, 2023
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Emily Hoeven tweeted Friday that the timing of Newsom’s out-of-state personal travel may not have been appropriate, sharing an article highlighting how Californians were stranded without food or resources to clear snow.
It remains unclear why Newsom chose to travel out of state during the ongoing winter storm situation and after declaring a state of emergency in multiple counties.
This is not the first time Newsom has faced criticism for personal travel. He was previously scrutinized for vacationing in Montana despite the state being on the list of those banned for state-funded travel due to disagreements over LGBT laws.
Governor Newsom has not had a public schedule for several weeks, including his recent meeting with President Biden and Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), leading to criticism over the secrecy. His deputy press secretary, Daniel Villaseñor, cited the need to limit what information could be made known due to the nature of the meetings.
The governor’s Twitter account did share a couple of tweets on Friday, including one criticizing a bill in South Carolina and sharing an anti-gun segment from comedian Jon Stewart’s show.
Newsom’s absence is yet another blemish on his record that Californians won’t soon forget. Recent polls indicate that a majority of California voters do not support his potential presidential bid.