While Democrats have accused President Donald Trump of using disasters and other crises as photo opportunities, such complaints are heading in their own party’s direction after the response to raging wildfires across several Western states.
Both U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom are facing accusations that they are using the natural disaster as a backdrop for political purposes, as reported by Fox News.
The backlash comes after the pair of politicians surveyed fire-damaged property earlier this week.
While most voters want elected officials to show up, offer assistance, and speak to those impacted by such events, critics say this was not what Harris and Newsom came to provide.
When photos of the visit began to circulate, individuals who recognized the scene behind them began to speak out against what was deemed a disrespectful act.
One Facebook user who identified the landscape as his father’s destroyed property wrote that he was “really frustrated” that “these two politicians used [his] parents loss for a photo opportunity to push their political agenda!”
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
“Parade it all over social media”
A similar post came from a woman who said she is the property owner’s sister.
“Dear Governor Newsom you don’t know me but I’m one of your CA citizens,” the individual wrote. “That truck you are standing by is my dads work truck. He has had that thing for as long as I can remember. That land with all the rubble your standing next too, that’s my house I grew up in. You never got my parents permission to go on our property, nor did you ask if we needed help. What you did do is take my families loss and parade it all over social media and news networks to push your agenda.”
According to KMPH, Newsom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“I’m not going to have anything about that,” said a Harris spokesperson in response to a similar question.
Even as two of the party’s top leaders allegedly trespass on the property of wildfire survivors to share images on social media, Democrats are still likely to blame the GOP for playing politics with people’s lives over the final weeks of the election season.