1. “It Was A Setup”: Nancy Pelosi’s Secret Blowout
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sparked outrage when footage emerged Tuesday depicting her getting her hair done at a salon that has been shuttered for six months under San Francisco’s strict coronavirus restrictions. Shortly thereafter, she was on MSNBC claiming President Donald Trump “slapped science right in the face” by holding a convention at the White House without masks and social distancing.
The salon owner, Erica Kious, told Fox News, “It was a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work.” She added that she “can’t believe” Pelosi was not wearing a mask.
In response, Pelosi deflected and blamed the salon owner for the incident, saying, “I take responsibility for trusting the word of a neighborhood salon that I’ve been to over the years many times. And that when they said, ‘Well, we’re able to accommodate people one person at a time, and that we can set up that time,’ I trusted that.”
“As it turns out, it was a setup. So I take responsibility for falling for a setup,” she added.
On Wednesday, Kious denied Pelosi’s accusation to Fox News host Tucker Carlson and described the incident as “hurtful,” given that her business has been devastated by the lockdown restrictions and will likely never recover.
2. “I’m The Public Face”: Lori Lightfoot’s Bad Hair Day
Pelosi was not the first politician to wade into charges of coronavirus hypocrisy after getting her hair done. In April, Chicago’s Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot had to defend herself after a hair stylist revealed on social media that she had given Lightfoot a haircut. For most people, such an activity would have been a violation of the mayor’s own stay-at-home orders, which deemed not just haircuts non-essential, but also long outdoor jogs and bike rides.
When reporters asked her about why she was able to get a haircut when everyone else in her city was not, Lightfoot deflected by claiming that Chicagoans don’t care about things as inconsequential as her hair.
“I think what really people want to talk about is, we’re talking about people dying here. We’re talking about significant health disparities. I think that’s what people care most about,” Lightfoot said.
“The woman who cut my hair had a mask and gloves on so we are, I am practicing what I’m preaching,” she further explained, suggesting that her position as the mayor necessitated the trim. “I am the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye. I take my personal hygiene very seriously. As I said, I felt like I needed to have a haircut. I’m not able to do that myself, so I got a haircut. You want to talk more about that?”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot: We will fine churches $500 if they don’t follow our rules!
Also Mayor Lightfoot: I’m an important person and needed a haircut. pic.twitter.com/q8IV2haXPi
— ForAmerica (@ForAmerica) May 20, 2020
3. “I’m Not Going To Run Away”: Gov. J.B. Pritzker Marches With Juneteenth Protesters As Family Escapes To Florida Estate
Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s lockdown was particularly strict, leading him to clash with a downstate judge, as well as with police who refused to arrest individuals in violation of the “emergency orders” he pushed through in May. His edict threatened fines, misdemeanor charges, and imprisonment for businesses that defied his shutdown mandate. Pritzker eventually backed down.
As The Daily Wire reported, several Illinois churches also sued Pritzker after his “Five Point” coronavirus plan potentially shut down religious services of more than 50 people until 2021 or until a vaccine is found.
Pritzker was met with intense criticism from Republicans, therefore, when photographs emerged that showed him marching in Chicago with large crowds to commemorate Juneteenth, when outdoor gatherings were limited to less than 10 people, according to NBC Chicago.
“The governor flaunting his disregard for his own rules is a slap in the face to every Illinoisan who has been diligently following them,” state GOP spokesman Joe Hackler told the Chicago Tribune.
Regarding the charges of hypocrisy, Pritzker stressed the importance of resisting systemic racism, adding, “I go places, and it’s very difficult to get socially distant when an awful lot of people show up, and I’m not going to run away.”
During an April 30 press conference, billionaire Pritzker lost his cool when a reporter asked him why his wife and children had scuttled off to his family’s $12 million equestrian estate in Florida, where stay-at-home orders were less onerous than in Illinois.
“Well, first of all, I want to say that in, in politics, it used to be that we kept our families out of it,” Pritzker responded. “My official duties have nothing to do with my family. So, I’m just not going to answer that question. It’s inappropriate, and I find it reprehensible, honestly, that, that that reporter wrote a story about it.”
4. “I Felt It Was An Important Moment”: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Across Lake Michigan from Pritzker’s state, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer condemned protests against her administration but changed her tune regarding the protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
In April, Michiganders stormed the State Capitol in Lansing to dissent from Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders, which kept “life-sustaining” abortion clinics open while forbidding things such as professional lawn care or traveling to a family member’s house. In response, Whitmer slammed the protesters, suggesting they were racist, and threatened to extend the order even longer.
A little more than a month later, Whitmer, whose coronavirus response has been ridden with allegations of scandal and hypocrisy, marched in close quarters with protesters yelling, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”
Maintaining that ample hand sanitizer was present at the march, Whitmer said, “I felt it was an important moment to show my support and show a unified leadership out of the executive office of the governor and so the lieutenant governor and I joined.”
.@GovWhitmer @LtGovGilchrist and Bishop Charles Ellis lead a group of marchers in Detroit honoring the life of #GeorgeFloyd. Marchers call out "hands up, don't shoot!" @wxyzdetroit @ABC pic.twitter.com/ExR28L3dIm
— Jenn Schanz (@JennSchanzWXYZ) June 4, 2020
Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown simply denied that the governor had violated her own rules about social distancing, despite photographic evidence proving otherwise.
— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) June 5, 2020
5. Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf and Dr. Rachel Levine
Another governor who disregarded social distancing rules to march with Floyd protesters was Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. On June 3, he gathered with them in the state capital when Harrisburg’s Dauphin County was in the yellow phase of its color-coded reopening plan, which limited outdoor gatherings to 25 people or less.
Wolf also raised eyebrows when, according to a March investigation by Spotlight PA, his family’s central Pennsylvania cabinet supply company “continued operating during the coronavirus shutdown despite having its waiver rescinded by state officials.”
Rising to Wolf’s defense was his transgender health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, who drew scrutiny for removing her mother out of a personal care home as the coronavirus was devastating elderly populations. Regarding why Wolf marching with hundreds of protesters was acceptable, Levine said in part, “There are obviously significant social issues that are present, that people feel that they need to have a voice, and so the governor is always supportive of that and is participating.”
Levine stoked outrage even among Democratic state lawmakers when Pittsburgh NBC affiliate WPXI uncovered legal documents showing that Levine had come to a confidential settlement agreement with a car show in Harrisburg that allowed them to get around the lockdown. Citing it as an “ongoing legal issue,” Levine refused repeated opportunities to explain why tens of thousands were allowed to shuffle through the car show’s four-day event during a time when outdoor gatherings were limited 250 people or less.
PA Health Sec. won’t allow the state to reopen or people to gather – and the Gov. who said businesses that disobey are cowards as he marches in protests himself – actually tries to legitimize limitless protests in the street while standing by restrictions. pic.twitter.com/4jKwJGBtpG
— Chris Stigall (@ChrisStigall) June 3, 2020
6. “I Understand The Frustration”: Philly Mayor Jim Kenney Gets Caught Eating In A Restaurant
Another Pennsylvania politician who got caught was Philadelphia’s Democrat Mayor Jim Kenney, who took heat earlier this week when someone sneaked a photo of him eating in a Maryland restaurant without a mask, despite the fact that indoor dining is forbidden in his own city.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney enjoyed a meal indoors at a Maryland restaurant on Sunday and now he’s being skewered by one of Philly’s top chefs for that dining decision. More: https://t.co/CxKX6nBXPR pic.twitter.com/Fnxp87NT6L
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) August 31, 2020
After he was savaged by Philly residents online, Kenney issued a statement, saying, “I know some are upset that I dined indoors at a restaurant in Maryland yesterday. I felt the risk was low because the county I visited has had fewer than 800 COVID-19 cases, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia. Regardless, I understand the frustration.”
“Restaurant owners are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. I’m sorry if my decision hurt those who’ve worked to keep their businesses going under difficult circumstances. Looking forward to reopening indoor dining soon and visiting my favorite spots.”
Kenney’s office pointed out to a local CBS affiliate that he was patronizing “a restaurant owned by a friend of his.”
Restaurant owners are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. I’m sorry if my decision hurt those who’ve worked to keep their businesses going under difficult circumstances. Looking forward to reopening indoor dining soon and visiting my favorite spots. https://t.co/Ki3lIZV8i4
— Jim #MaskUpPHL Kenney (@PhillyMayor) August 31, 2020
7. “We Messed Up”: Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Along with the flak he has taken for forcing nursing homes to take in coronavirus patients, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also been accused of hypocrisy for other aspects of his coronavirus response. In late June, Cuomo issued mandatory two-week quarantines to travelers from certain states, despite threatening in March to sue Rhode Island for having done the same to New Yorkers. Violators were threatened with fines up to $10,000.
New York state Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt told the Democrat & Chronicle that such orders were “hypocritical,” adding, “This draconian policy means anyone traveling for a business conference to a state on his list will be forced into quarantine, and anyone who already made vacation plans will too.”
The quarantine rules apparently did not apply to Cuomo himself, who traveled to Georgia in July to deliver PPE and meet with Savannah’s Democrat Mayor Van Johnson. Georgia was among the list of states from which travelers were required to quarantine because of its high risk, but Cuomo nevertheless had his mask off during his meeting with Johnson, elbow-bumping and even hugging him.
“We messed up,” Cuomo said, when later confronted about the maskless elbow bump. “I mean, yeah, we messed up. I mean, no big deal, in this case.” Regarding why he did not self-quarantine after the trip to a hot spot, “Cuomo said he’s exempt as an essential worker,” according to Syracuse.com.
Though not an elected official, the governor’s brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, made headlines in April when he got into an argument with a bicyclist who asked him why he was outside without a mask despite having the coronavirus.
8. “He Wanted To Check”: Gov. Ralph Northam
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was also caught without a mask during a May visit to Virginia Beach. In a statement to NBC12, Northam’s office said, “The Governor has repeatedly encouraged wearing face coverings inside or when social distancing is impossible. He was outside today and not expecting to be within six feet of anyone.”
JUST IN: Statement from @GovernorVA on not wearing a mask today while in Virginia Beach. “The Governor has repeatedly encouraged wearing face coverings inside or when social distancing is impossible. He was outside today and not expecting to be within six feet of anyone.” @NBC12
— Henry Graff (@HenryGraff) May 23, 2020
He also added that he was there because “he wanted to check beach enforcement and make sure they were following the rules, which they were largely.”
— Henry Graff (@HenryGraff) May 23, 2020
9. “Government Activity Is Essential”: Federal Lawmakers Exempt From D.C. Mayor’s Quarantine Orders
When late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) died in July, his funeral spanned several days and culminated at a service in Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. had served as co-pastor with his father. According to metrics laid down three days earlier in an executive order from District Mayor Muriel Bowser, anyone traveling for non-essential reasons to a high-risk hot spot like Georgia had to self-quarantine for two weeks upon returning to Washington, D.C.
The federal lawmakers who were crammed into the crowded pews to listen to eulogies from former presidents, however, were exempt from Bowser’s mandate. Bowser press secretary Susana Castillo characterized the ceremony as an “essential” government activity, telling Just the News, “Government activity is essential, and the Capitol of the United States is exempt from the Mayor’s Order.”
Members of Congress were also exempt from Bowser’s edict that required D.C. residents to wear masks not only in public indoor spaces, but even outside if they “are likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time[.]”
10. “He Wrote The Book On Hypocrisy”: NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio
New York City’s Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio was perhaps the first to flout his own coronavirus restrictions and has continued to remain at the forefront of politicians who do so. On March 16, the same day he closed New York City’s schools and just one day before he shuttered its 27,000 restaurants indefinitely, de Blasio was seen going to a public gym for a morning workout.
De Blasio’s 12-mile chauffeured jaunt from Gracie Mansion to the YMCA in Park Slope stoked fury even from some of his advisers and confidantes, who described it as “inexcusable, “reckless,” “pathetic,” and “self-involved,” according to the New York Post. He later defended himself at a press conference, saying, “I did not think for a moment there was anything problematic because I knew the dynamics. And again, I have to stay healthy so I can make the decisions for the people of this city.”
Way to set the example, Mr. Mayor. https://t.co/colF20Wtwg
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) March 16, 2020
De Blasio, who drew swift and widespread condemnation when he scolded the Jewish community after personally helping to disperse a rabbi’s funeral in Brooklyn, nevertheless marched in solidarity with protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Even after he began feeling sick after participating in the “East Harlem Pray and Protest” in June, de Blasio refused to get tested for the coronavirus, prompting Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) to tell the New York Daily News, “He wrote the book on hypocrisy. During his six years as mayor, he’s been nothing but a hypocrite on most things and this is a great example.”
Marching with @etcnyorg during today’s East Harlem Pray and Protest, I felt the urgency and pain of this moment — but also confidence that change will come because of the spirit of this movement and because in this city we affirm that #BlackLivesMatter. pic.twitter.com/XlgqzZ4pxt
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 14, 2020
Like many other Democratic leaders, de Blasio drew a distinction between protests against systemic racism and establishments that sustain people financially and spiritually. “When you see a nation, an entire nation, simultaneously grappling with an extraordinary crisis seeded in 400 years of American racism,” he said, “I’m sorry, that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services.”
Under de Blasio’s leadership, New York City has been hemorrhaging residents, many of whom are leaving permanently. As The Daily Wire reported, Cuomo has taken to begging the city’s rich to return because the state’s revenue is in free fall.
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