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Gov. Gavin Newsom gestures after receiving a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at Asian Health Services in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (AP) Gov. Gavin Newsom gestures after receiving a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at Asian Health Services in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (AP)

Gov. Gavin Newsom gestures after receiving a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at Asian Health Services in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (AP)

Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles November 11, 2021

No, the military didn’t arrest Gov. Gavin Newsom

If Your Time is short

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom said that he canceled a trip to a United Nations climate change conference to spend time with his family. 

  • He has since been seen at the wedding of oil heiress Ivy Love Getty on Nov. 6 and at the 2021 California Economic Summit on Nov. 9.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to cancel his trip to the United Nations climate change conference in Scotland sparked rumors that he became severely sick from his Oct. 27 COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and went into hiding.

Those rumors proved unfounded, as the governor made a pair of public appearances and explained that he was busy with work and family obligations. 

But an article from the website Real Raw News wove a completely different narrative to explain his brief absence from the public eye: that a bedridden Newsom was taken from his home and arrested by the military. 

The media site claimed that an "unknown number of Marines sent by United States Marine Forces Special Command" killed two California state police officers guarding Newsom’s residence, narrowly missed catching Newsom’s wife and children as they escaped into a fortified safe room, and took Newsom, unconscious and on life support, and his doctor away into custody.

The article was shared in several posts on Facebook. The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

Real Raw News regularly publishes fantastical, false stories with made-to-go-viral headlines, often about arrests and executions of public figures. This one about Newsom’s arrest is another one of those false stories.

So is a subsequent article on the site, published Nov. 9, claiming that Newsom woke up in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and will be tried when he recovers for "the deaths of ‘thousands’ of senior citizens and 600 California children who had developed lethal staph infections from prolonged mask usage." 

Newsom spoke at the 2021 California Economic Summit on Nov. 9, and explained his absence from the public eye, saying he canceled the planned trip to Scotland to spend time with his family on Halloween weekend. The following week, he said, he worked in the office and brought his kids with him. 

"It’s probably the most productive week I’ve had since I’ve been governor," Newsom said.

On Nov. 10, Newsom once again answered questions about his whereabouts during a visit to a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot clinic. 

Daniel Lopez, press secretary for Newsom, told PolitiFact that the claim was "categorically false."

"Last week, Governor Newsom worked in the Capitol with staff on urgent issues including COVID-19 vaccines for kids, boosters, ports, the forthcoming state budget and California’s continued economic recovery," he said.

Lead Stories reported that Newsom also attended the wedding of oil heiress Ivy Love Getty on Nov. 6, where he was photographed. 

PolitiFact has debunked more than a dozen claims that originated on Real Raw News. In response to inquiries from PolitiFact in September, Facebook said it had removed Real Raw News’ page from its platform for violating the company’s COVID-19 policies. 

We rate this claim about Newsom Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

The New York Times, Where’s Gov. Gavin Newsom? Nov. 9, 2021

Real Raw News, Military Arrests Bedridden Gavin Newsom, Nov. 7, 2021

Facebook Post, Nov. 8, 2021

Real Raw News, Gavin Newsom Awakens from Vaccine Coma – At GITMO

Nov. 9, 2021

PolitiFact, Hangings, guillotines and Gitmo: Going behind Real Raw News’ sensational (and fabricated) headlines, Sept. 24, 2021

CBS 8 San Diego YouTube video, Gov. Newsom makes first appearance in weeks at 2021 CA Economic Summit, Nov. 9, 2021

California Governor Gavin Newsom YouTube video, Governor Newsom to Visit Vaccine Clinic to Promote Vaccinations and Booster Shots, Nov. 10, 2021

Lead Stories, Fact Check: Gavin Newsom Did NOT Awaken From Vaccine Coma And Was NOT Held At GITMO, Nov. 9, 2021

Daniel Lopez, press secretary for Governor Gavin Newsom, Nov. 10, 2021

Erin Mellon, Agency Communications Director for Governor Gavin Newsom, Nov. 10, 2021

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No, the military didn’t arrest Gov. Gavin Newsom

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