In the wake of massive wildfires that have raged across the West Coast in recent weeks, two top California Democrats, Sen. Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom, traveled across the Golden State to survey the damage. But what was likely meant to be a display of solidarity quickly turned into the latest scandal for Newsom and the Democratic vice presidential hopeful.
According to Breitbart, Trampas Patten and his sister Bailee blasted Harris and Newsom last week for allegedly trespassing on “what is left” of their parents’ Auberry home.
In a message posted to Facebook, Trampas Patten slammed the politicians for using his parents’ “loss for a photo opportunity to push their political agenda.”
“Political party wouldn’t have made a difference in this moment,” he wrote, according to Breitbart. “Decent human beings that have character and class, wouldn’t air someone else’s misfortune on national television!”
“Surveying a burn site”
Citing a report from local news affiliate Fox 29, Breitbart reported that Harris and Newsom first visited Auberry on Tuesday. “The two reportedly stopped at Pine Ridge Elementary in Auberry, then walked across the street to the family’s residence,” Breitbart added.
Spent time surveying a burn site with @GavinNewsom in an area that has been devastated by the recent wildfires in California. I’m incredibly grateful for the courage of our brave firefighters and those who have come near and far to help those fleeing the destruction. pic.twitter.com/EHSUPgkOsl
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 15, 2020
“This is our lives”
It didn’t take long for Trampas Patten to recognize the fireplace seen “in the background” of Harris’ photo as “what is left” of his childhood home, which he says his parents still haven’t been allowed to return to. “[M]y 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[‘] property without permission,” he complained.
“This isn’t just devastation, this is our lives,” Patten’s sister, Bailee, later told local reporters, according to Breitbart. “This is where we grew up, these are our memories.
“We haven’t gotten to deal with our loss,” she added. “Instead, we’re having to watch it play out on social media and news.”
In his Facebook post, Trampas Patten pressed Americans to put themselves in his parents’ shoes: “Look at this picture closely, imagine it is what is left of your hard work, hopes, dreams, place of sanctuary. Do you want this kind of leadership, using you and your loss for political gain?!” Take a look: