Opponents of Gov. Gavin Newsom scrutinized him for taking a personal trip to Montana a few days after he aired an ad in Florida
"Newsom didn't break any laws. This isn't some kind of major scandal," said political professor Jack Pitney. "Probably the kind of thing that will be forgotten in a couple of days. But it is something of a warning to team Newsom. He is started to play in national politics. And if he continues to play in national politics. He'll be subject to scrutiny that he's not used to.
Montana is one of the 20 states that is banned by California for state-funded travel because of its anti-LGBTQ policies. Other states on that list include Alabama, Florida and West Virginia. While California has banned state-funded travel to these states, there is no restriction on personal travel.
"The state's travel ban applies to expending state funds," Newsom's office wrote in a statement. "The Governor's travel is not being paid for by the state. Connecting the two is irresponsible and falsely implies there is something untoward. This is a personal trip to visit family who live outside the state."
Despite not violating the ban, Newsom's rivals pounced at the opportunity to criticize him.
"Democrats have banned state travel to these states," tweeted Republican State Senator Melissa Melendez. "You'll note Montana is on the list. Also of note, Gavin Newsom is currently vacationing in...Montana."
Loyola Law professor and political analyst Jessica Levinson said Newsom could have avoided the criticism by being forthright with his travel plans similar to what he has done in the past.
"But Newsom was reticent to say where he was and now there are all these questions about it," she added. "Sure, he can vacation wherever he wants but are there any state funds in the form of security?"
Newsom's spokesperson would not comment on whether he was with his security detail because of security concerns.
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