MONTEREY (CBSLA) – After two weeks of near-radio silence, California Governor Gavin Newsom is back in public.
Speaking at an economic summit Monday in Monterey, Newsom was back in front of a camera.
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After withdrawing from a high-profile trip to the World Climate Conference, rumors and conspiracy theories began to emerge online about the governor’s urgency.
Newsom said, however, that he just needed some time to go away and spend with his family after a grueling recall election and the summer of forest fires in Northern California.
“I was ready to go (to the climate conference) and I ate this dinner with the family … and the kids had an intervention,” Newsom said. “When you had a five year old… 4 small children… I defend myself… I have to go… my wife wanted to go too. Mom and Dad miss Halloween – for them it was worse than Christmas.
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But political experts and state Republicans believe Newsom could have done a better job of communicating his intentions with the public better.
“People should normalize being a parent and have a high-stakes career,” said Loyola Marymount, law professor and political analyst Jessica Levinson. “I think for Governor Newsom the unforced mistake is that he just did not come out in front of this and say, ‘look, I’ve been away from home for a long time. I have worked for the people of California. I have four small children, someone else can go to this conference. “
Newsom’s political rivals believe the issue is not about his family, but his handling of the job.
“People understand that even politicians have family responsibilities to take care of,” said Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R.), Granite Bay. “But that was not what he did. He kind of fell off the map for two weeks, and meanwhile we have a crisis in our ports that threatens the entire national economy.”
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