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'Does It Get More Cowardly?' Newsom Cancels CA Christmas Tree Lighting Over Pro-Palestinian Protest

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) canceled what would have been the annual public Christmas tree lighting Tuesday night due to “protests across the country.”

The decision came via an announcement from a spokesperson for the governor.

“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,” a representative for Newsom said Tuesday afternoon. “The program is unchanged and viewers can tune in Wednesday evening to watch this year’s festivities.”

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”:

Newsom initially planned to host the lighting in-person, according to KCRA-TV. The holiday event was also set to include a market featuring local businesses and musical performances. But on Nov. 29, the Midtown Business Association announced its part in the event would be virtual:

As we continue to see protests across the country impacting the safety of events of all scales, we have decided not to continue with the holiday market as planned on Tuesday, Dec. 5. We will provide updates on our holiday plans and family-friendly festivities at a future date.

While the governor’s office didn’t specifically state which protests triggered the decision to scrap the Christmas event, it’s likely the choice was catalyzed by pro-Palestinian protests, many of which have turned violent.

The Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights announced plans to march to the California state capitol in Sacramento Tuesday night, telling KCRA-TV its intention 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.”

On Monday, the California Highway Patrol put up barriers around most of the capitol building’s west side lawn, where the Christmas tree stands. Authorities also erected signs reading, “KEEP OUT, NO TRESPASSING,” with warnings that the area is under 24-hour surveillance.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) rebuked Newsom in a post published to X Tuesday.

“Gavin Newsom let a pro-Hamas mob cancel California’s Christmas tree lighting,” he wrote, sharing the KCRA-TV report. “Does it get more cowardly than that?”

Newsom is not the only one to cancel Christmas plans due to violent anti-Israel protests.

Officials from Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, announced in mid-November they were taking down much of the West Bank city’s Christmas decor as a show of “solidarity” with Palestinians and the city’s majority Muslim population.

A spokesperson for Bethlehem said the reason for the decision was “the general situation in Palestine.”

“People are not really into any celebration,” the city representative added. “They are sad, angry, and upset; our people in Gaza are being massacred and killed in cold blood. Therefore, it is not appropriate at all to have such festivities while there is a massacre happening in Gaza and attacks in the West Bank.”

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About The Author

Tré Goins-Phillips Headshot

Tré Goins-Phillips serves as a host and content creator for CBN News. He hosts the weekly “Faith vs. Culture” show and co-hosts “Quick Start,” a news podcast released every weekday morning. Born and raised in Virginia, Tré now lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he has built his career, often traveling to meet and interview fascinating cultural influencers and entertainers. After working with brands like TheBlaze and Independent Journal Review, Tré began his career at CBN News in 2018 and has a particular passion for bridging the chasm between the secular world and the church