Most elected officials work hard. No doubt, the demands of constituents, the pressures of public life, the scrutiny and demands of the press, and the never-ending news cycle and things that need to be done can lead to burnout, and take their toll on the body and the mind. No one would begrudge an elected official a vacation every now and then.
But it is odd for a governor to just disappear for nearly two weeks; California governor Gavin Newsom has not appeared in public since October 27. He canceled an appearance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland, citing unspecified “family obligations.”
Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, grumbled on Twitter Sunday night about the whispers surrounding her husband’s absence: “It’s funny how certain folks can’t handle truth. When someone cancels something, maybe they’re just in the office working; maybe in their free time they’re at home with their family, at their kids’ sports matches, or dining out with their wife. Please stop hating and get a life.” She deleted the Tweet.
But it’s not “hating” for the public to wonder about a governor who hasn’t been seen in 13 days — particularly if that governor has never had a similar stretch of being away from the cameras, and particularly when the governor and his staff aren’t giving any explanation or details about the absence. There are sympathetic reasons for why Newsom may have disappeared – hopefully, he’s not dealing with any health issues – and not-so-sympathetic reasons — er, “hiking the Appalachian trail.” If there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation, let’s hear it. If the explanation isn’t reasonable… then it’s fair for Californians, and everyone else, to wonder where their governor is and whether everything is alright.