MONTEREY, Calif. - In his first official appearance in nearly two weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom offered an explanation for his very public absence and what caused him to abruptly cancel a trip to Scotland for the United Nations Climate Conference.
"The kids literally had an intervention, they couldn’t believe I was going to miss Halloween," said Newsom.
He spoke during a "fireside chat" at the California Economic Summit in Monterey.
"I woke up that next morning, with something probably familiar with a lot of parents, a knot in my stomach," Newsom told the crowd. "I had no damn choice, I had to cancel my trip."
Newsom had plans to travel to Scotland from Nov. 1-3 with his wife, first partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. His four young kids are between the ages of 5 and 12.
His last public event was on Oct. 27 when he received his COVID booster shot in Oakland. His office announced two days later that he would not attend the conference due to "family obligations."
In Monterey, Newsom said missing Halloween was the last straw for his kids.
"I’ve been on this treadmill; we’ve gone from crisis to crisis from wildfires, extremes, droughts, social justice, unrest, obviously with COVID," said Newsom. "This recall you may have heard about, and right after that recall we just jumped right back into it."
The governor said he spent the time trick-or-treating with his kids, going to their soccer games, and working at the Capitol.
Vogue reports he attended a glitzy San Francisco wedding for heiress Ivy Getty over the weekend—an event he would have been back for had he traveled to Scotland.
The sudden exit from the public eye and limited explanation from his office led to lots of speculation, conspiracy theories, and criticism.
Republican Assemblymember Kevin Kiley wrote, "Governors work for the people, so an unexplained absence is always a matter of public concern. But that’s especially true for a governor who has claimed sole authority to control the lives of millions of people through his own 'State of Emergency.'"
Newsom responded to some of the claims, saying, "There were some Twitter accounts, that I think we would all do well taking some time away from social media."
The governor’s actual reason for attending the summit was to talk about California’s economic recovery. He also urged people to stay vigilant as COVID hospitalizations have risen in parts of the state as we approach the winter season.
"We have to keep those boosters up," said Newsom. "We’ve got to be mindful the job’s not done, you can’t spike the ball."