Governor Gavin Newsom continued to receive criticisms over a “ill-timed” Memorial Day tweet on Tuesday, with many accusing him of bringing partisan politics on a day that is generally agreed to be devoid of them.
In the past, while Newsom has remained respectful of most holidays that lawmakers from both parties have generally agreed aren’t appropriate for anything partisan, including Memorial Day, September 11th, Veteran’s Day, and Christmas. There have been a few exceptions for Newsom in recent years, such as rolling out a pro-California ad campaign in Florida on July 4th last year. However, while those instances generated backlash, they had not been called “disrespectful” or “ill-timed”.
That all changed on Monday when Newsom tweeted out the following:
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 29, 2023
The political cartoon, showing an image of a child trying to pick out a book above several firearms, focused primarily on issues such as the prevalence of firearms in the U.S. and gun control. However, rather than sparking debate on the issues, which political cartoons tend to do, Newsom received criticism for putting the tweet out on Memorial Day, a holiday that honors soldiers who died while serving the country. Journalists, lawmakers, and others quickly accused Newsom of being ‘tone-deaf’ on the Tweet due to the day.
Frank Fleming of the Daily Wire noted Monday, “I couldn’t believe how many people were tricked by an obvious AOC parody account, but then I thought this was from a Gavin Newsom parody account.”
I couldn’t believe how many people were tricked by an obvious AOC parody account, but then I thought this was from a Gavin Newsom parody account. https://t.co/ljVFPdHyGt
— Frank J. Fleming (@IMAO_) May 29, 2023
Others also called out Newsom for releasing it on Memorial Day.
“If this came out today or, say, after another shooting, it would have just been another post aligned with Newsom’s beliefs,” said political social media manager Leslie Coates to the Globe on Tuesday. “It’s not a particularly good political cartoon, but hey, if tweeted on a normal day, it would have made the point, there would be some debate, then everyone moves on. But by putting this out on one of the country’s most sacred holidays, he got a lot of people riled up. And not in a good way.”
“If this wasn’t intentional, which it sounds like it wasn’t, it was Newsom just once again really misreading the room and putting something controversial out on one of the days that doesn’t happen. If it was intentional, then Newsom really misjudged just how much people would oppose it. Even those who agree with the point of the cartoon and are in favor of gun control came out to say ‘Not on this day. You should have waited a day or two on this one.’. It was about respect for the holiday, and he didn’t show that with that Tweet.”
Although Gov. Newsom didn’t respond to the backlash created by the tweet, he did release a more formal Tweet and proclamation of Memorial Day later on Monday, an action that helped reduce the growing criticism against him.
On Memorial Day, we remember and honor the courageous men and women who laid down their lives to protect our cherished freedoms and way of life.
In memory of those we have lost, flags will be flown at half-staff on all state buildings and grounds.https://t.co/KdcfKUu3mi
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) May 29, 2023
“On Memorial Day, we remember and honor the courageous men and women who laid down their lives to protect our cherished freedoms and way of life,” said Newsom in a statement on Monday. “Upholding a solemn tradition that dates back to Decoration Day in 1868, communities across the country will gather to pay tribute to the selfless heroes—our friends, family, and ancestors—who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. In 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as a national day of remembrance of all Americans who have perished in our nation’s wars.
“In respect and gratitude for their sacrifice, many Californians will take part in ceremonies at the state’s three veterans cemeteries, nine national military cemeteries, and hundreds of local cemeteries where the fallen rest. Many of their names grace memorials throughout the country, from the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C. to our own Capitol Park in Sacramento.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund recently brought “The Wall That Heals” to several California communities, and many towns and cities pay homage to their own sons and daughters lost in war with poignant local monuments.
“On Memorial Day, we hold these brave souls in our hearts and pay our respects to the families who mourn their loss. We also honor them with our commitment to respecting and caring for the veterans who are still here with us, their brothers and sisters in arms. In memory of the servicemen and women we have lost, I have ordered that flags be flown at half-staff on all state buildings and grounds throughout California.”
Coates added, “That is a good statement on the day. If he just put out that and saved the other tweet for later in the week, he could have come out with some class intact. But he didn’t.”
More on the Memorial Day tweet is expected to come out later on Tuesday.
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