The Democratic governor, who spent much of the summer campaigning against the ultimately unsuccessful effort to remove him from office
, spoke about the pull of his responsibilities as a father and a husband during an in-person appearance at the California Economic Summit in Monterey. He said that “it’s been a hell of a couple of years for all of us,” especially parents. And he encouraged fathers to prioritize family time, especially after a year when mothers have picked up a lot of extra responsibilities.
“I’ve been on this damn treadmill. We’ve gone from crisis to crisis — from wildfires to extreme drought to social justice and unrest” while dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, Newsom said. He added that after he had defeated the recall effort
in mid-September, he had jumped back into bill signings and other state business during an intense work period.
As he was preparing to go to Europe for the summit with his wife, he had what he described as “that dinner” with his four children, whose ages range from 5 to 12.
“The kids, literally, they kind of had an intervention. They said they couldn’t believe that I was going to miss Halloween,” Newsom said. “Mom and dad missing Halloween, for them, is worse than Christmas, missing Christmas. And I woke up that next morning with something that’s probably familiar to a lot of parents — that knot in your stomach that I had no damn choice, I had to cancel that trip.”
Newsom said that he instead had gone trick-or-treating with his family — all dressed as a clan of pirates — and attended his kids’ soccer tournament over the Halloween weekend, when all four of them were playing. He also took his children to work last week at the state Capitol.
Last weekend, he attended the wedding of Ivy Getty, the great-granddaughter of J. Paul Getty, but he did not attend the reception, Newsom spokeswoman Erin Mellon said.
The California governor, whose last public appearance before Tuesday’s conference had been when he got his Covid-19 booster shot on October 27, said he had spent last week at the Capitol “diving deep” into issues at the state’s ports and plans to curb a winter Covid surge, and writing the upcoming state budget.
“It’s probably the most productive week I’ve had since I’ve been governor,” he said.
When the moderator of Tuesday’s fireside chat with Newsom joked that he was relieved that the governor had not been abducted by aliens, Newsom mocked the Twitter accounts that had sprung up drawing attention to his absence from the public spotlight.
“I think we’d all do well taking some time away from social media,” he said.