News and Commentary

D.C. Mayor Defends Herself After Blatantly Ignoring Own Mask Mandate
Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks to reporters after a shooting on July 22, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser defended herself after photos and videos showed her officiating a wedding the same day her indoor mask mandate went into effect.

The wedding itself appears to have been outside, but the reception appears to have been indoors, where photos and videos of Bowser indoors without a mask were published by the Washington Examiner.

“Bowser, who was not sitting at the table designated for her during wedding toasts, did not wear a mask despite not actively eating or drinking. When approached by the Washington Examiner to explain why she was maskless at an event now legally obligated to enforce mask compliance, security blockaded the free press,” the outlet reported.

In response to the photos, as well as additional reporting showing the mayor was maskless indoors on Friday night, just before the mandate went into effect, Bowser’s office attempted to defend her actions.

“On Saturday, July 31st, Mayor Bowser officiated an outdoor, rooftop wedding ceremony, followed by an indoor dinner. The Mayor wore a mask indoors in compliance with the mandate, and the organizers and venue staff worked to create a safe environment for the staff and guests. The Friday, July 30th evening event called into question by conservative media was outdoors, on a rooftop,” the statement said, according to Fox 5.

“We continue to emphasize everyone should be vaccinated as soon as possible and to wear a mask at indoor public settings to protect yourself, your loved ones and your neighbors,” the statement continued.

As Fox 5 noted, the “statement did not address a published photo of a maskless Mayor Bowser inside during the wedding dinner, and not eating or drinking.”

The Friday evening event Bowser mentioned referred to her large birthday party, where attendees were outdoors without masks, but not taking other CDC recommended precautions. Bowser’s statement also failed to address photos of her with comedian Dave Chappelle Friday night, where she and others appeared with the comedian indoors without a mask. As The Daily Wire previously reported:

The mayor’s office released a statement on Friday announcing that comedian Dave Chappelle would be performing in the District this weekend, with his first performance Friday night at The Anthem. Chappelle is headlining the first live public event at the venue since March 2020 and has been branded as the official re-opening of The Anthem.

Coincidentally, Bowser attended the Friday night performance — the night before the mask mandate went into effect. Masks were required at The Anthem for the show, but the District’s mandate was not in effect, allowing Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio to meet with Chappelle and pose for a photo without wearing masks.

On Thursday, Bowser announced that she would reimpose an indoor mask mandate for D.C., leading some to wonder why, if the mandate was so important, it didn’t start immediately. Learning that the mayor took photos with Chappelle and attended a large birthday party for herself the night before the mandate took effect seemed to answer that question.

The Daily Wire also reported:

Bowser’s leadership throughout the pandemic has been a source of repeated criticism and multiple lawsuits. In 2020, she repeatedly gave herself and other Democrats a pass in the name of “essential” government business. Around the same time a D.C. pub frequented by Trump supporters was fined thousands for violating her restrictions, Bowser traveled to celebrate Biden’s electoral victory with a crowd in Wilmington, Delaware, one of the “high-risk states” from whose visitors she demanded a 14-day quarantine at the time. The mayor’s office assured both Fox 5 and NBC 4 that her trip to the Biden victory speech was “essential travel” because she met with senior Biden adviser Symone Sanders in her official capacity.

“I do a lot of things to advance the interests of the District of Columbia, and some of them are formal, and some of them are informal, but all of them are necessary,” Bowser said.

The “essential travel” excuse also applied to lawmakers who attended the late Rep. John Lewis’ funeral in Atlanta last summer. Georgia was also a high-risk state that required mandatory two-week quarantine post-travel. The federal lawmakers who crammed into the crowded pews to listen to eulogies from former presidents, however, were exempt from Bowser’s mandate.

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