Summary List PlacementA family accused California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, of trespassing on their property while surveying damage from one of the state’s wildfires on Tuesday.
Newsom took Harris on a tour of the damage left behind by the Creek Fire, during which they took a few pictures at the shell of a former home in the town of Auberry.
Brother and sister Trampas and Bailee Patten each took to Facebook to criticize the photo op, which they said took place at their parents’ burned-down home.
Bailee Patten wrote that the politicians “never got my parents permission to go on our property” and accused the two of parading her family’s loss over social media “to push your agenda.”
Trampas Patten said in his post that his parents haven’t even able to return to the house to survey the damage themselves.
“For the record, my parents haven’t even been let back in yet themselves, to sort through what is left of their lives, but these two felt the need to go traipsing around my parents [sic] property without permission,” he wrote.
“What has me really frustrated right now is the fact that these two politicians used my parents [sic] loss for a photo opportunity to push their political agenda!” Trampas Patten added.
“Political party wouldn’t have made a difference in this moment. Decent human beings that have character and class, wouldn’t air someone else’s misfortune on national television!”
He went on to tell his followers not to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Harris in the 2020 election.
“Think about this when you go to the polls in a few weeks to vote. Look at this picture closely, imagine it is what is left of your hard work, hopes, dreams, place of sanctuary,” he wrote. “Do you want this kind of leadership, using you and your loss for political gain?!”
In an interview with Fox 26, Bailee Patten said seeing the photos of Newsom and Harris at what is left of her parents’ house left her speechless.
“When we saw those photos, it was — there aren’t words, because it’s like, we haven’t even seen our house. We haven’t seen our property. There is no house, we haven’t even seen our property,” she said.
During the tour, both Newsom and Harris blamed the wildfires in part on climate change, with Harris saying “it is incumbent on us, in terms of leadership of our nation, to take seriously the extreme changes in our climate.”
President Donald Trump has refused to acknowledge the scientific consensus that climate change had supercharged the wildfires.
Harris also said during her visit: “The people who are victimized by these, they could care less — and their children would care less — who their voted for in the last election.”
Bailee Patten said she didn’t like Harris calling her family victims, telling Fox 26: “We’re survivors. We’re gonna get through this, but the whole community has lost. And to just take a picture of one loss, it’s not enough.”
Business Insider has contacted representatives for Newsom and Harris for comment.
Fox 26 reported that it did not receive a response from Newsom, and that a spokesperson for Harris declined to comment.
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