MONTEREY (CBSLA) – After two weeks of near radio silence, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is back in the public eye.

Speaking at a economic summit Monday in Monterey, Newsom was back in front of a camera.

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After backing out of a high-profile trip to the World Climate Conference, rumors and conspiracy theories began to emerge online about the Governor’s urgency.

However, Newsom said he just needed some time to step away and spend with his family after a grueling recall election and the summer of wildfires in Northern California.

“I was ready to go (to climate conference) and I had this dinner with the family … and the kids had an intervention,” Newsom said. “When you got a five-year-old … 4 young kids … I’m defending myself … I got to go … my wife was going to go as well. Mom and dad missing Halloween – for them it was worse than Christmas.”

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But political experts and state republicans believe Newsom could have done a better job of communicating his intentions with the public better.

“People should normalize being a parent and having a high-stakes career,” Loyola Marymount law professor and political analyst Jessica Levinson said. “I think for Governor Newsom, the unforced error is he just didn’t get out in front of this and say, ‘look I’ve been away from home for a long time. I’ve been working for the people of California. I have four young kids, somebody else can go to this conference.”

Newsom’s political rivals think the issue isn’t about his family but his handling of the job.

“People understand that even politicians have family responsibilities to attend to,” Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R.), Granite Bay, said. “But that’s not what he did. He sort of fell off the map for two weeks and all awhile we have a crisis at our ports that is threatening the entire national economy.”

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