California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2024, is facing criticism for vacationing in Montana, a state he banned state employees from traveling to for publicly-funded trips.
The San Francisco Examiner reported that Newsom was on vacation in Montana to visit family, with the governor expected to return on Monday.
California officials decided last year to ban state-funded travel to Montana over a law prohibiting men who identify as female from competing in women’s sports.
Montana was added to the state-sponsored travel ban list along with Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota and West Virginia, with California Attorney General Rob Bonta claiming that the states' laws were discriminatory.
“When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, California law requires our office to take action,” stated Bonta at the time. “These new additions to the state-funded travel restrictions list are about exactly that.”
Newsom has connections to Montana through his wife, whose parents own a ranch in Montana where they were married in 2008, according to the Examiner.
Anthony York, the governor's spokesman, told the Examiner that it was acceptable for Newsom to travel there, as he reportedly did not use state funds for the trip.
“We don’t legislate where people vacation. Never have. The travel ban applies to expending state funds. The governor’s travel is not being paid for by the state,” York added.
Although it's likely that Newsom used California Highway Patrol officers for his security, Politico reported that the state’s travel ban does not extend to state-funded security personnel.
Others, including National Review's national affair reporter John Fund, have argued that the Montana vacation was proof that Newsom was hypocritical on this matter and other issues.
“This isn’t the first example of Newsom flouting the rules. He famously violated his own indoor-dining ban in 2020, when he attended a birthday party at the deluxe French Laundry restaurant in Napa,” wrote Fund.
“Months later he appeared maskless at a football game where face coverings were mandatory. Last summer, he had to pull one of his kids out of a summer day camp that did not require kids to wear masks, a violation of state policy.”
Fund added that conservatives should be welcoming of “a Newsom presidential candidacy in 2024.”
“Not only would he have to defend the state’s horrific record on taxes, education and crime, but you’d have to breakout the popcorn as he is forced to explain his ‘Rules for thee, but not for me’ philosophy,” he concluded.
The California Republican Party also criticized the governor in a blog post titled, "Governor 'Rules for Thee' Strikes Again":
"His office tried to deflect the blatant cries of hypocrisy, saying the state bans state-funded travel to Montana, not vacations, but then refused to answer whether or not taxpayers were picking up the tab for Newsom’s security to join him in Montana.
"Of course, this isn’t the first time Newsom has broken his own rules when he found it convenient. He infamously dined mask-less, indoors, with several households at the French Laundry in 2020, breaking a plethora of his draconian covid regulations. Then he broke his guidelines again earlier this year when he was mask-less at the NFC Championship in Inglewood, alongside mask-less celebrities, Democrat politicians and 70,000 fans. Friendly reminder that Newsom’s school mask mandate was still in effect at the time.
"So now he’s done it again, broken his own rules to visit the same state that at least 13,000 former Californians have fled to in the last two years."