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California family accuses Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom of trespassing on their fire-ravaged property for wildfire photo op and 'using their tragedy for political gain'

 A California family has accused Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom of trespassing on their fire-ravaged property for a photo opportunity.

The lawmakers visited Fresno County on Tuesday to survey areas that have suffered the most damage during the Creek Fire, as dozens of other wildfires continue to rage across the West Coast.

Harris and Newsom were both briefed by officials from Cal Fire and the US Forest Service about the challenges they’ve faced in fighting the fire, which has burned more than 213,000 acres and is still only around 18 percent contained.

They also stopped by Pine Ridge Elementary in Auberry, before walking across the street to observe a residence that had been burnt to the ground.

‘The fire just swept through. So everything is gone except the chimney,’ Harris told reporters. ‘Those chimneys, they remind me - when you look at a neighborhood that's been wiped out, those chimneys remind me of tombstones.’

In a Facebook post later the same day, Trampas Patten, who identified himself as the homeowner’s son, accused Harris and Newsom of using his family’s tragedy for their own political gain.

A California family has accused Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom of trespassing on their fire-ravaged property for a photo opportunity during their tour of a burn zone

A California family has accused Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom of trespassing on their fire-ravaged property for a photo opportunity during their tour of a burn zone

Siblings Trampas and Bailee Patten blasted Harris and Newsom on Facebook, saying their parents own the property and they didn't seek permission to enter
Bailee Patten seen above

Siblings Trampas and Bailee Patten (both pictured above) blasted Harris and Newsom on Facebook, saying their parents own the property and they didn't seek permission to enter 

Trampas Patten, who identified himself as the homeowner’s son, accused Harris and Newsom of using his family’s tragedy for their own political gain

Trampas Patten, who identified himself as the homeowner’s son, accused Harris and Newsom of using his family’s tragedy for their own political gain

Referencing a photo later shared by Harris of the Senator and Newsom standing near the ruins of the home, Patten condemned the pair saying his family never gavee them permission ‘to go traipsing around’ the property.

In the post, which has since been shared more than 1,500 times, Patten said: ‘What has me really frustrated right now is the fact that these two politicians used my parent’s loss for a photo opportunity to push their political agenda.

‘Political party wouldn’t have made a difference in this moment,’ he continued. ‘Decent human beings that have character and class, wouldn’t air someone else’s misfortune on national television!’


He added: ‘I guess those property taxes my parents pay allow politicians to do this! Private property doesn’t exist in California anymore!

A Fresno County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the exact letter of the law isn’t clear as to whether the lawmakers needed permission to explore the charred remains, according to GV Wire.

Voting records show that Patten and his mother, Bonnie Patten, are registered Republicans, the outlet said.

His sister, Bailee Patten, also waded in to voice outrage, saying that her family hasn’t even been given the opportunity to visit the home themselves as an evacuation order is still in place.

Referencing a photo later shared by Harris of the Senator and Newsom standing near the ruins of the home, Patten condemned the pair saying his family never game them permission ‘to go traipsing around’ the property

Referencing a photo later shared by Harris of the Senator and Newsom standing near the ruins of the home, Patten condemned the pair saying his family never game them permission ‘to go traipsing around’ the property

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., talk as they asses the damage during the Creek Fire

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., talk as they asses the damage during the Creek Fire

A Fresno County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the exact letter of the law isn’t clear as to whether the lawmakers needed permission to explore the charred remains

A Fresno County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the exact letter of the law isn’t clear as to whether the lawmakers needed permission to explore the charred remains

Harris and Newsom's tour property owner has called 'using tragedy'
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Bailee said seeing the pile of rubble that was once their family home for the first time on social media was a real gut-punching blow.

‘When we saw those photos, it was - there aren't words, because it's like, we haven't even seen our house. We haven't seen our property. There is no house, we haven't even seen our property.

‘This isn't just devastation, this is our lives,’ she continued to FOX26. ‘This is where we grew up, these are our memories. And to not have that - to feel so helpless - and I guess that's what we've all been thinking, is that we were so helpless.

‘Because we weren't there, we haven't gotten to deal with our loss. Instead, we're having to watch it play out on social media and news,’ she said.

Harris told reporters as they filmed her walking around the property: ‘These are the stories behind these fires. The people who are victimized by these, they could care less - and their children could care less - who they voted for in the last election.’

But Bailee Patten said she feels Newsom took her family’s loss to ‘parade it all over social media and news networks to push your agenda.’

‘That agenda can wait,’ she blasted, adding that neither Harris nor Newsom has reached out to see if the family needs help.

When approached for a statement on the claims of trespassing, Senator Harris’ Communications Director told FOX26: ‘I'm not going to have anything about that,’ and declined to comment further.

Bailee said seeing the pile of rubble that was once their family home for the first time on social media was a real gut-punching blow

Bailee said seeing the pile of rubble that was once their family home for the first time on social media was a real gut-punching blow

Bailee Patten said she feels Newsom took her family’s loss to ‘parade it all over social media and news networks to push your agenda'

Bailee Patten said she feels Newsom took her family’s loss to ‘parade it all over social media and news networks to push your agenda'

During the tour of the area, Harris and Newsom spoke about climate change and the role it’s playing in stoking the wildfires.

According to the California Fire Department, more than 17,400 firefighters continue to fight ‘26 major and three extended attack wildfires’ in the state. 

The fires so far caused 25 deaths and destroyed nearly 5,400 structures in California as of Thursday.

Harris called the climate a ‘public health crisis’.

‘It is incumbent on us, in terms of the leadership of our nation, to take seriously the extreme changes in our climate,’ she said.

Newsom added: ‘The hots are getting hotter. The dries are getting dryer. Climate change is real. If you don’t believe in science, come to California and observe with your own eyes and not be in denial about this reality.’

After the visit, Harris tweeted a photo of her with Newsom in front of what appeared to be a fireplace, where the Pattens say their family’s home once stood.

‘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,’ Harris wrote in the post.

‘Do you want this kind of leadership, using you and your loss for political gain?!’ Trampas Patten thundered on Facebook in response.

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