California Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing criticism for canceling the annual tree lighting ceremony over potential anti-Israel protests, with critics calling him out for not standing up to the pro-Hamas protesters.
California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson addressed the cancelation during “FOX & Friends First” on Thursday, arguing no one should be “surprised” over the move based on the governor’s record on COVID and prior refusal to condemn the “terrorist protesters.”
“As the governor that kept kids on Zoom school for longer than any other state in the nation, we shouldn’t really be surprised that he wanted to move this to a virtual tree lighting ceremony,” Patterson told Carley Shimkus Thursday. “This is a tradition that dates back to the 1930s, and it’s also not the first time that Gavin Newsom had a hard time standing up to pro-Hamas terrorist protesters.”
“We just saw last month that the California Democrat Party’s convention where pro-Hamas protesters shut the event down. And we’ve yet to hear anything from this governor on standing with our partner, Israel,” she continued. “We just heard those heart-wrenching stories coming out of our number one ally. Gavin Newsom has been silent about the Democrat socialists in his party that have been pushing this agenda.”
According to KCRA, Wednesday’s 92nd Annual California State Capitol Tree Lighting was initially expected to be an in-person event in Sacramento, but a decision was made to make the event virtual because of planned protests. A pre-recorded virtual ceremony was released on Wednesday showing Newsom and his family watching as the tree lit up.
The Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights as well as several other organizations had planned to hold a protest at the event, telling the outlet they wanted to “out Gov. Gavin Newsom for hiding from the public because he doesn’t want to face their anger at his shameful stance in regard to the genocide in Gaza.”
This comes after the California Democratic convention was shut down early one of the days last month in Sacramento over public safety fears stemming from anti-Israel protests, according to a report from FOX40.
The three-day-long convention, which encompassed thousands of delegates from across the state, ended abruptly after pro-Palestine protesters reportedly breached security while changing “cease-fire now.” The event ended shortly thereafter as officials’ concerns over safety continued to mount.
“It’s really showing what is happening because of this Democrat socialist agenda, the far and absolutely regressive side, and you’re seeing the views of what happened at their convention,” Patterson said. “This shut down their convention event, and we can’t get our governor to stand up and say this is wrong? We need to stand with our ally in Israel. That is a very sad state of affairs.”
The annual tree lighting event was originally going to feature multiple business stands and concert performances.
Patterson argued those small businesses have already battled enough hurdles stemming from crime, and the cancelation was a missed opportunity for them to make money and expand their operations within the community.
“We have these community events, and it’s getting tougher and tougher in places like Sacramento because of the rising crime, because of these pro-criminal policies that California Democrats have championed,” Patterson said. “And Governor Newsom has actually signed many of these policies into action. These small businesses are already hurting, so when a large event like this gets canceled, it’s really detrimental to the businesses.”
“We deserve a governor that is going to stand up to the radical left, and Governor Newsom has proved time and time again that he’s not willing to do that,” she said. “This isn’t someone that shouldn’t get that promotion that he’s so desperately seeking to go to the White House.”
FOX News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.