Did Gavin Newsom Murder His Mother?

Gavin Newsom, the current governor of California, is the kind of person who should be kept as far from the reins of power as possible. His life and career are marked by selfish ambition, adultery, lying, and even matricide. He’s the kind of man who cheats on his then-wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle—now the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr—with a staffer, his close friend’s wife. Then, when both their marriages collapse, he “dates” a 19 year old, letting her drink at fancy galas. And now remarried, multiple papers are alleging “the worst-kept secret” in town is Newsom’s “multiple alleged extra-marital affairs” during the COVID-19 shutdowns, including again with staff. 

Newsom has repeatedly displayed a habit of seeing people—especially women—as tools to be simply used and discarded. His treatment of his mother is the saddest example of this. This may come as a shock to many, but by the ethical standards that Catholics profess to hold, and likely by the laws of California at the time, Gavin Newsom murdered his mother, Tessa Newsom, by helping her commit suicide. 

Not satisfied in bringing this evil on his own family, this month Newsom signed a bill to make sure Californians can do the same without any pesky delays. As one CBS San Francisco article puts it, the bill he signed “streamlines” assisted suicide by replacing the 15-day waiting period with a 48-hour one. 

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For the Catholic, this area of ethics is laid out in detail in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Church teaches that to unjustly and deliberately end a human life (even to end suffering) is murder, and euthanasia (also known as assisted suicide) is no exception. The Catechism states that: 

Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus an act or omission which, of itself, or by intention causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person [emphasis mine] and to the respect due to the living God his creator. (2277)

This cannot be clearer. And Newsom, as a “practicing Catholic,” as he claims, should be well aware of that fact. But regardless, during a New Yorker profile in 2008, he admitted to providing the pills to his mother that she used to end her life during her final days struggling with breast cancer. This callous act marked the end of their perpetually rocky relationship. 

In the profile, Newsom discussed how he avoids reading with his dyslexic daughter Montana because it reminds him of when he was a struggling, dyslexic kid and his mother tried to teach him how to read.

“I tell Jen, ‘Don’t make me read with her!’ Because when she’s struggling with the words, my daughter is me and I’m my mother, and it’s too hard.” 

These nightly struggles with his mom came to a head when she told him, “It’s O.K. to be average.” Newsom didn’t want to be average, though. He wanted to be great, and he considers that message to be “the most damaging thing she ever said” to him, saying, “It gave me all my drive. I hate her for it—but I love her for it.”

But even though his mother raised him and his sisters by herself and helped run his restaurant businesses while he pursued politics, he remained cold to her, even as her cancer became inoperable. Hillary, one of his sisters, told The New Yorker that “he was difficult to reach” as their mother’s health declined. 

“Gavin had trouble explaining to me how hard for him it was to be with her when she was dying, and I had trouble explaining to him how much I needed him,” Hillary said. “Back then, he seemed like the kind of guy who would never change a diaper.”

Tessa Newsom, neglected by her son and in the final painful days of her struggle with cancer, decided to end her life in May of 2002. 

“She left me a message, because I was too busy: ‘Hope you’re well. Next Wednesday will be the last day for me. Hope you can make it,’” Newsom remembered. “I saved the cassette with the message on it, that’s how sick I am.”

And for those last moments, he did show up; but not to convince her that she didn’t need to end her life in this way, and that she would die naturally with true dignity soon. No, he finally showed up in order to commit what, to both the Church and likely the state, was the murder of his own mother. 

“I have P.T.S.D., and this is bringing it all back,” Newsom understandably expressed to the interviewer. “The night before we gave her the drugs [emphasis mine], I cooked her dinner, hard-boiled eggs, and she told me, ‘Get out of politics.’ She was worried about the stress on me.”

In 2002, California did not have any legal allowance for euthanasia in state statute. That was passed much later, in 2016’s “End of Life Option Act.” Likely, euthanasia was treated at the time like many other laws that Leftists find inconvenient—for example federal drug and immigration laws—and simply not enforced.

But, the state statutes describe murder as “the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” Malice aforethought is legal jargon that is meant to establish mens rea, or the mental state and intent of the person committing the act. For this to be shown, the person has to intend to deliberately harm a person (express malice) or be at least indifferent to the harm that the act may cause (implied malice). It seems clear that he knew these pills would cause enough harm to kill her, even if he thought this harm was for her own good. 

Notice, too, Tessa’s final words to her son: “Get out of politics.” We can only hope, for the sake of many others—including those like Tessa with terminal illnesses, unborn children, and opioid addicts who are being deprived of a “rock-bottom moment” by lax drug enforcement—that he finally listens to his mother.

[Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images]


  • David Larson

    David Larson is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Federalist, Crisis Magazine, Front Porch Republic, and Catholic World Report. He has a masters in theological studies and is currently opinion editor for Carolina Journal in North Carolina, where he lives with his wife and family. David can be reached here.

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