Wildfire Survivors Accuse Kamala of Touring the Rubble of Their Former Home for a Photo Op

Posted: Sep 17, 2020 5:05 PM
Wildfire Survivors Accuse Kamala of Touring the Rubble of Their Former Home for a Photo Op

Source: Alex Wong/Pool via AP

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris joined California Gov. Gavin Newsom for a tour of the wildfires that have devastated parts of the state. The fires have claimed 35 lives, destroyed thousands of homes, and forced thousands more to evacuate. In a series of photos, Harris and Newsom are captured walking through the rubble of a home destroyed by the Creek Fire in Fresno County. They shared photos of their walk on Twitter.

The rubble seen in the photos happens to be the former home of the Patten family, who were told they were not allowed to see what was left of it. So you can imagine the emotions they went through when they saw these two politicians walking through it.

Trampas Patten shared his reaction on Facebook.

"What has me really frustrated right now is the fact that these two politicians used my parents' loss for a photo opportunity to push their political agenda," he writes.

He and his sister Bailee spoke with Fox26 News as well, having more to say about Harris's and Newsom's trespassing.

"When we saw those photos, it was—there aren’t words," said Bailee Patten. "We haven't even seen our house. We haven't even seen our property - there is no house."

“This is where we grew up, this is our memories...we haven't been able to deal with our loss," she added. "Instead we're having it play out on social media." 

"We're survivors," Bailee said, rejecting the term "victims." "We're gonna get through this, but the whole community has lost. And to just take a picture of one loss, it's not enough."

Fox26 News told viewers that they reached out to both Newsom's office and the Harris campaign for a reaction. All they got from Harris's communications director was the flippant remark, "I'm not going to have anything about that."