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7 Times California Democrats Were Accused of Skirting Public Health Guidelines
California Governor Gavin Newsom is interviewed while visiting the Hot and Cool Cafe in Leimert Park after several days of protest in Los Angeles on June 3, 2020. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom just issued a month-long curfew for most of the state that takes effect on Saturday night. Earlier this week, he announced state authorities were “pulling the emergency brake,” explaining drastic changes like tightening mask requirements were necessary to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19. He said 94% of the state’s population, or approximately 37 million people, would now reside in counties under the strictest “purple” tier of his reopening plan. Meanwhile, the threat of another economy-damaging stay-at-home order looms for more than ten million people who live in Los Angeles County.

After eight months of fluctuating restrictions, the stated objective remains to “flatten the curve.” But recent events have caused a growing number of Californians to question the moral authority of elected officials who seem to ignore the same guidelines they push onto their constituents.

As GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel recently tweeted: “The list goes on and on with Democrat leaders from California and beyond saying: Lockdowns and restrictions for thee, but not for me!”

Here are seven times California Democrats got caught skirting COVID-19 protocols:

1. Governor Gavin Newsom

On Monday, Gov. Newsom apologized for attending a Nov. 6 dinner party with about a dozen other people at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley. More than three households were present, a violation of the mandatory guidelines for social gatherings set forth by the California Department of Public Health at the time.

Newsom said the birthday celebration had taken place outdoors, but images obtained by an investigative reporter in L.A. called that claim into question.

An unidentified woman who said she recognized Newsom at the ritzy eatery shared the photos with FOX 11 News. The anonymous source said a waitress confirmed the governor was among the guests.

“I was able to document this, especially since nobody was wearing a mask,” she told FOX. “It was a very large group of people shoulder to shoulder, something that he’s always telling us not to do, so yeah, it was a bit annoying for sure.”

2. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Earlier this week, Garcetti warned the city, “L.A. is in a very dangerous situation.”

He instructed Angelenos to stay home as much as possible, avoid social gatherings, and “assume everyone you encounter outside of your home is infectious.”

In early June, however, media coverage captured a maskless mayor surrounded by protesters outside L.A. City Hall.

As the L.A. Times reported at the time:

It was the kind of scene that, it seems, only this tumultuous year of 2020 could produce.

With the National Guard patrolling the streets of Los Angeles after several nights of looting, violence and fires, hundreds of people gathered downtown to protest the death of George Floyd and police brutality against so many other black people. After weeks of calls for strict social distancing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Eric Garcetti joined the crowd, took a knee and pulled down his blue Los Angeles Dodgers face mask to speak.

 As he spoke, chants rang out: “Defund the police!”

Garcetti initially said that there was no evidence to support the conclusion that mass protests contributed to a spike in COVID-19 infections over the summer but later acknowledged a connection.

“It’s not the act of protesting – that’s a great and American thing to do no matter what your opinion is,” he said. “But protesting without maintaining physical distancing, without wearing your mask, without having sanitizer, we just have to be smart.”

3 & 4. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

87-year-old Sen. Feinstein is the eldest member of the Senate. According to the CDC, “the greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older.”

On Tuesday, she was captured on video speaking in close proximity to two masked individuals without wearing a face covering herself. The discussion took place in a Senate hallway before a hearing with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.

The day before the clip went viral, Feinstein’s Twitter account had posted, “We must continue doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

“Please wear a mask,” the tweet continued. “Maintain social distance.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Feinstein often has been seen in the Capitol without a mask, though she has voiced support for mask mandates, a political hotbutton in some states.”

Feinstein was also spotted walking through an airport in September without a face covering after saying the Federal Aviation Administration should require masks be worn inside airplanes and passenger terminals.

5 & 6. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

As elected officials across the country discourage family get-togethers during the Thanksgiving holiday, House Speaker Pelosi recently planned an indoor banquet to celebrate newly elected Democratic members of Congress.

Pelosi, 80, told NBC News that there would be enhanced ventilation and said the Capitol physician had approved the event.

“It’s very spaced,” Pelosi said.

The affair had been scheduled for last Friday but was called off after a photograph of the indoor venue circulated on social media.

It wasn’t the first time the speaker had been accused of hypocrisy during the pandemic.

In September, Pelosi said she was set up to be videotaped not wearing a face covering. Security camera footage showed a mask-free Pelosi walking through a San Francisco hair salon in a robe after getting her hair washed, disobeying the city’s public health restrictions.

“I just thought about my staff and people not being able to work and make money and provide for their families,” eSalon owner Erica Kious told Tucker Carlson on FOX News. “And if she’s in there comfortably, without a mask and feeling safe, then why are we shut down?”

7. Several state lawmakers who recently traveled to Hawaii.

The L.A. Times reports at least five Democrats and four Republicans serving in the California State Legislature recently flew to Maui to attend a conference hosted by a San Diego-based group. The four-day event began Monday, three days after Gov. Newsom issued a travel advisory urging people to avoid non-essential travel.

According to the L.A. Times, the lawmakers drew “sharp criticism back in California, where observers say it sends the wrong message for legislators to leave the state and gather at a resort when COVID-19 cases are surging, leading to tougher restrictions on the movement of average residents.”

Some politicians defended the Hawaii trip, where one of the topics reportedly addressed at the conference was how to reopen states safely during the pandemic.

The outlet went on to identify elected officials who it had confirmed attended the conference. They include Democratic Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa, Democratic Assembly members Blanca Rubio of  Baldwin Park, Mike Gipson of Carson, Wendy Carrillo of L.A., and Jose Medina of Riverside.  Chad Mayes, a former Republican from Rancho Mirage who was re-elected last month with no party affiliation, also reportedly attended. GOP Assembly members Frank Bigelow of O’Neals, Heath Flora of Ripon, and Jordan Cunningham of Paso Robles were also there, the report said, along with Republican Sen. Andreas Borgeas of Modesto.

Newsom’s recent advisory asks them to quarantine for 14 days after re-entering California.

RELATED: California, Oregon, And Washington Issue Travel Advisories, Urge 14-Day Self-Quarantine For People Entering West Coast States

RELATED: California Pulls ‘Emergency Brake,’ 94% of Residents Now Live In Counties Under Strictest COVID Tier


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