Gavin Newsom to Make First Public Appearance in Two Weeks Amid Questions Over Absence

California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to make his first public appearance in nearly two weeks following speculation about why he has not been seen out and about recently.

The governor's office announced Monday that he would take part in a "fireside chat" at the 2021 California Economic Summit in Monterey on Tuesday, Deadline reported.

The summit would examine the Golden State's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic Newsom's office said as well as look at how to rebuild a "more equitable, sustainable and resilient economy for communities across the state."

Once a fixture of daily press conferences during the early part of the pandemic, there have been questions about why Newsom had been out of the public eye since getting a COVID-19 booster shot on October 27, TheSacramento Bee reported.

The Democratic governor had been due to attend in person the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow between November 1 and November 3.

Newsom has tried to be at the forefront on climate change issues. He had announced in 2020 a goal for only zero-emission vehicles to be sold in the state by 2035.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on October 8, 2021 in Oakland, California. There has been speculation over why he has not been seen in public ahead of a scheduled appearance on November 9, 2021. Justin Sullivan/Getty

However, three days before he was due to go, his office announced he would no longer be making the trip, citing "family obligations," without specifying further.

Democratic state Senator Bob Hertzberg said there was "nobody in California who wanted to be at this conference more than Gavin Newsom. But we're all human beings [...]," Cal Matters reported

Meanwhile, Newsom spokesman Daniel Lopez dismissed speculation that the governor had had a bad reaction to the COVID dose, telling The Sacramento Bee that he had been working with lawmakers at the state capitol last week.

"He will have public events this week related to the economy and vaccines," the statement added.

A now deleted tweet by his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom also tried to dampen down the speculation.

"When someone cancels something, maybe they're just in the office working," a screenshot of her tweet said, according to The Bee, "please stop hating and get a life."

Some have criticized Newsom's recent lack of public appearances.

California Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who ran as a candidate in the governor's recall election in September, tweeted: "A governor's absence is always a matter of public concern. That's especially true for a governor claiming sole authority to control people's lives through a 'State of Emergency.'"

Meanwhile, Republican lawyer Harmeet K. Dhillon tweeted: "Gas is $5/gallon, homes cost $850k, you have to take drugs to keep your job or go to school, we're supposed to just 'get over' rampant crime and illegal immigration... Where's @GavinNewsom?"

But he had a defender in California Democratic state legislator Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher who tweeted that he was "a father of 4 young children who worked his butt off nearly every day during this pandemic." She added: "I don't care what he's taking time to do with his family, he deserves time off."

Vogue reported that this past weekend, Newsom attended a wedding for artist and model Ivy Love Getty, the great granddaughter of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, in San Francisco, with photos showing him wearing a mask during the ceremony. Newsom's spokesperson said that the governor and his wife attended the ceremony but not the reception.

Newsweek has contacted Newsom's office for comment.