Are you going somewhere, Gavin?
California’s Democratic governor is enjoying a bit of R&R in Montana this week — despite Big Sky Country being one of 20 states the Golden State bars official and state-funded travel to due to laws deemed discriminatory towards LGBTQ+ people.
Gavin Newsom’s office announced July 1 that the governor had left California and temporarily handed power to Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, but did not say where he went.
CalMatters reporter Emily Hoeven revealed Tuesday night that Newsom had traveled to Montana, where his in-laws own a ranch, and was scheduled to return to work on July 11.
In response, Newsom spokesman Anthony York tweeted: “The travel ban applies to the use of public funds. The Governor’s trip is not paid for by the State. Linking the two is an attempt at gotcha journalism that is neither gotcha nor journalism. The governor is on vacation with his family. He will return later this week.
Despite York’s statement, it was unclear whether Newsom and his family were accompanied by security on their visit – or how security was paid if they were.
Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment.
Some Republicans and conservatives were quick to accuse the governor of hypocrisy over his choice of destination. “Democrats have banned state travel to these states. You will notice that Montana is on the list. Also of note, Gavin Newsom is currently vacationing in… Montana,” Senator Melissa Melendez wrote.
“‘When asked if the state pays for his security, York replied that the office does not comment on security.’ So, yes then, ”added Melendez in another postciting Hoeven’s reporting.
“It’s gonna be hilarious when he vacations in Miami,” tweeted commentator Ben Shapiro, appearing to reference Newsom’s recent ad campaign urging Florida residents to leave the Sunshine State and move west. “Gasoline prices in Montana are about $2.50 a gallon cheaper than in California. Emergency state [for COVID-19] in California for 2.5 years. Amazing he’s running ads in Florida and vacations in the red state of Montana when California families can’t afford to travel thanks to the Democrats,” said Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican National Committee member from California. job.
California originally enacted restrictions on state-funded travel in 2016 under Newsom’s predecessor, Jerry Brown. Montana was added to the banned list in June of last year, along with Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota and West Virginia.
At issue was a law signed by Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte that banned transgender women from participating in girls’ school sports.
“When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, California law requires our office to take action,” state Attorney General Rob Bonta said at the time. “These new additions to the list of state-funded travel restrictions are aimed at exactly that…Rather than focusing on solving real problems, some politicians believe it is in their interest to demonize trans youth and to block vital healing.”
Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee , Texas and Utah are also on the prohibited list.
California allows certain exemptions, including travel necessary to enforce state law or honor contracts signed before various states were added to the restricted list.