Fox News reported that Gavin Newsom violated California's travel ban. An analysis says otherwise

Fox News reported that Gavin Newsom violated California's travel ban. An analysis says otherwise
San Francisco, California, USA, Jun 29, 2008 - SF Mayor Gavin Newsom during the SF Gay Pride Parade on Market Street in San Francisco, California (Shutterstock).

Fox News quickly jumped at the opportunity to report that California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) failed to comply with his own travel ban. However, there is just one problem with the report: He was actually in compliance with his state's travel policy, according to Mediaite.

The latest debacle began on Wednesday morning when Fox News' Bill Hemmer kicked off his segment with mocking remarks about the Democratic governor. So, rules for thee, not for me, right?” Hemmer said during the introduction for his latest segment of America’s Newsroom.

“California governor Gavin Newsom ignoring his own travel ban,” Hemmer continued. “Where he’s gone on vacation after ordering anyone who works for him to stay away.” The screen then featured a photo of Newsom with a headline that read: “TRAVEL BAN? WHAT TRAVEL BAN?”

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“RULES FOR THEE, NOT FOR ME,” the segment continued after the commercial.

At that time, Julie Banderas chimed in with her take on the report. “Governor Gavin Newsom escaping California, going on vacation in Montana after imposing a travel ban to the state,” she said. “How convenient.”

Banderas then turned her attention to Fox News chief correspondent Jonathan Hunt who was featured in Los Angeles, Calif., where he was covering the story. Hunt claimed the governor's office had refused to confirm whether or not he'd traveled to Montana. However, he noted that the office did confirm he was “on a personal trip to visit family who live outside the state of California, and therefore in their view, that this is much ado about nothing.”

Erin Mellon, Newsom’s communications director, fired back with a brief statement offering clarity on the state's travel policy. She described Fox News' report on the governor's personal trip to Montana as “a lack of understanding on state policy.” However, she did thank the conservative news outlet for its "efforts to be accurate,”

The travel ban applies to expending state funds. The Governor’s travel is not being paid for by the state. Connecting the two is irresponsible and falsely implies that there is something untoward.

Per Mediaite, Hunt reported that the state of California has placed a ban on “'state-funded travel' to 22 states, including Montana, over objections to those states’ policies on LGBTQ+ issues."

READ MORE: Gavin Newsom pushes national Democrats to turn up the heat in culture-war battles: report

“But officials with the governor’s office point out the state does not regulate where people are allowed to have family or persecute those same people for visiting their family,” he added.

Hunt also noted that Newsom's in-laws have a ranch in Montana. The location is also where the couple wed back in 2008.

“The bottom line, Julie, this does appear to be a personal vacation which would have nothing to do with the ban on state-funded travel,” he continued, noting that the news outlet had “followed up with the governor’s office asking them, well, does that mean there isn’t a single state-funded employee with the governor? Security details for instance.”

Hunt claimed Mellon had responded saying that she could not provide details about Newsom's security detail due to safety protocols. “We don’t know if security is there because of security,” he said.

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Pivoting from the network's inaccurate reporting, Banderas simply said, “Love that no comment.”

However, Anthony York, Newsom’s senior comms advisor, also released a brief statement reiterating Mellon's explanation. “The travel ban applies to using state funds,” York tweeted. “The Governor’s travel is not being paid by the state. Connecting the two is an attempt at gotcha journalism that is neither gotcha nor journalism.”

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