A family in Fresno County, California, is upset that vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) trespassed on their property to use their burnt home as a photo op, according to a local news report.
Harris visited California on Wednesday to survey damage from one of the fires that raged in California this month. Her trip came a day after President Donald Trump surveyed fire damage in the state.
During her trip, she stopped at Pine Ridge Elementary in Auberry, then crossed the street to look around a burned down home, according to local news station Fox26 News.
Harris commented on the home’s condition, saying, “Everything is gone except the chimney. Those chimneys, they remind me — when you look at a neighborhood that’s been wiped out, those chimneys remind me of tombstones.”
Harris also tweeted out an image of herself on the family’s property.
The homeowners’ son, Trampas Patten, said his parents did not give her permission to enter their property and Harris, nor California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) — who accompanied Harris, had a right to be there.
“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! Political party wouldn’t have made a difference in this moment. Decent human beings that have character and class, wouldn’t air someone else’s misfortune on national television!” Trampas said in a Facebook post.
He added: “For the record, my parents haven’t even been let back in yet themselves, to sort through what is left of their lives, but these two felt the need to go traipsing around my parents property without permission. I guess those property taxes my parents pay allow politicians to do this! Private property doesn’t exist in California anymore!”
For the friends of mine that don’t recognize the fireplace in the background, that is what is left of my parents house!…
His sister, Bailee Patten, was also furious.
“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,” she told the news station.
“This isn’t just devastation, this is our lives. 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.
She also said that neither Harris nor Newsom has reached out to help.
She, too, penned an angry post on Facebook to Newsom:
Dear Governor Newsom you don’t know me but I’m one of your CA citizens. 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.
That agenda can wait, right now you should be caring about the families of this state. Thankfully this community is #mountainstrong and we will thrive.
Patten was also angry that Harris had characterized them as victims in comments to reporters.
“These are the stories behind these fires,” Harris had told reporters. “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.”
Patten responded: “We’re survivors. 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.”
KMPH reached out to the communications teams for Newsom and Harris.
While they did not hear back from Newsom, Harris’s communications director told reporter Marie Edinger via phone, “I’m not going to have anything about that.”