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In a Wednesday live-stream from his Texas home, Austin Mayor Steve Adler apologized for instructing residents to stay home when possible in a November video, while he himself was filming that very video from a timeshare in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
“The first week of November, my daughter got married here in Austin, and like many other brides, she had to cancel her original plans in order to follow the rules, and instead she had a small, mostly family, very private wedding,” said Adler.
“Afterwards, a small, mostly family group traveled to Mexico. I want you to know that I regret that travel. I wouldn’t travel now, I didn’t over Thanksgiving, and I won’t over Christmas, and no one should. Everyone should be avoiding non-essential travel now because we’re in the orange area,” he added.
Although Adler didn’t break any health orders from the state of Texas or from himself by traveling to Mexico at the time that he did, the Austin mayor neglected to tell anyone that he was encouraging people to stay home — remarking that it was “no time to relax” when it comes to the coronavirus — when he himself was on vacation out of the country.
KVUE, which first reported on the trip, has also noted that the wedding Adler attended for his daughter two days before he and seven others took off to Mexico on a private jet went against the city’s recommendations to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
“Now, I fear that the travel that I did, which took place during a safer period, followed the color-coded rules, could lead to some taking riskier behavior now. I recognize that my travel set a bad example, I recognize that the fact that I took that trip, and at the same time was continuing to urge people to be cautious, is confusing,” said Adler.
“I know that others have chosen not to travel under the same circumstances, and I know that in my position, I need to send a clearer message. I’m sorry I took that trip. It was a lapse in judgment, and I want you to know that I apologize,” he concluded.
The Austin mayor is just one of many politicians who have drawn public scrutiny for behaving out of line with their own messaging.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D) recently encouraged people to stay home when possible while he himself was traveling for Thanksgiving by airplane. And at the beginning of November, California Governor Gavin Newsom visited the famed French Laundry — where a group of at least 12 people from multiple families reportedly racked up a $15,000 bar tab for a birthday dinner — for a meal that appeared to be held indoors. Newsom, whose office has encouraged people to wear masks between bites of food, did not appear to be wearing a mask at dinner and was sitting next to two members of the California Medical Association.
Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend? Don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites.
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) October 3, 2020
San Francisco Mayor London Breed attended a 7-person dinner at the exact same restaurant the following evening, several days before she shut down indoor dining in her own city about 60 miles west. The San Francisco Examiner reports that Breed subsequently apologized for the outing, writing: “It doesn’t matter whether something is technically allowed or not — I need to hold myself to a higher standard and I will do better.”