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Newsom cancels public capitol Christmas tree lighting, opting for virtual event amid planned protests

California Gov. Gavin Newsom canceled the public tree lighting at the state's capitol amid planned pro-Palestinian protests, instead deciding to host a virtual event, according to a report.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has canceled the public capitol’s annual Christmas tree lighting, instead opting to host a virtual event amid planned pro-Palestinian protests, according to a report.

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.

An announcement posted on Tuesday by the governor’s office states that a pre-recorded virtual ceremony will be released on Wednesday at 6 p.m.


The California Highway Patrol barricaded most of the capitol building’s west side lawn, where the tree is located, according to the report. Several signs read “KEEP OUT, NO TRESPASSING.”

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Originally, Newsom was planning to welcome people to the event, which was supposed to feature multiple business stands and concert performances.

A spokesperson for Newsom told the outlet that nationwide protests were a factor in the decision to hold the event virtually.

“As we continue to see protests across the country impacting the safety of events of all scales — and for the safety and security of all participating members and guests including children and families — the ceremony this year will be virtual,” the spokesperson said. “The program is unchanged and viewers can tune in Wednesday evening to watch this year’s festivities.”

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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.”

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“Governor Newsom decided to cancel the tree lighting ceremony rather than face the public that is enraged by his shameful silence on the genocide in Gaza. This certainly doesn’t add up with his past stance with Native Americans,” said Yassar Dahbour of Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights.

California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement to Fox News Digital that Newsom is a “modern-day Grinch.”

“Gavin Newsom still won’t condemn the pro-Hamas and antisemitic protests that shut down his own party’s recent convention, so it’s no surprise he’d prefer to hide from a tree lighting where he risked being confronted by more protesters. Newsom is a modern-day Grinch whose cowardice is punishing the public and small businesses who’d planned on celebrating this joyous occasion,” said Patterson.

James Gallagher, California Assembly Republican Leader, said in a statement to Fox News Digital that the decision is “pathetic.”

“First Newsom was silent when terrorist sympathizers stormed his own party convention, and now he’s allowed pro-Hamas radicals to intimidate him into canceling an event that was supposed to spread a message of unity, joy and peace. It’s pathetic that he doesn’t have the spine to stand up to these extremists,” said Gallagher.

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