Denver Democrat Mayor Michael Hancock faced widespread backlash on Wednesday after he ignored his own coronavirus recommendations by getting on a flight to allegedly go visit family members after he warned families in his city to not travel because of the pandemic.
30 Minutes before his flight today, Hancock tweeted out a graphic of guidelines from the City of Denver for how people should celebrate Thanksgiving in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners,” Hancock said in part. “Avoid travel, if you can.”
After getting caught ignoring his own recommendations, Hancock’s office put out the following statement:
I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. I have shared how my family cancelled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration. What I did not share, but should have, is that my wife and my daughter have been in Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job. As the holiday approached, I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver.
I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone. As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others, I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel. I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head.
Mayor Hancock’s statement and actions overall were widely slammed online by people from across the political spectrum.
“Mayor Hancock’s social media post, telling us to avoid travel for Thanksgiving just minutes before he boarded a plane to go see his family, that should be the last time Coloradans hear any public health guidance from Michael Hancock,” left-wing reporter Kyle Clark said on air. “The next pandemic briefing needs to come from a city leader who actually follows the advice that the city gives the public. The mayor’s decision to ignore his own public health guidelines cripples confidence in our shared sacrifices just at the time when the pandemic in Colorado is at its worst.”
“So, on Thanksgiving, as the mayor sits down to a meal with his family out of state, back here, in his city, a health care worker will sit down to rest his feet after a 12 hour shift, a business owner will sit down to figure out how she can keep her employees on the payroll through the holidays, an older woman will sit down to eat Thanksgiving dinner alone because she and her family chose to take the mayor’s advice,” Clark continued. “We have all wanted to do what the mayor did, jump on a plane and go somewhere, hug somebody we love, hand a new baby to a grandparent. We didn’t because epidemiologists and scientists and elected officials begged us not to, not to yet. They asked us to summon all of our strength just to hold on and to not do what Mayor Hancock did.”
“None of this is easy; the mayor’s job is not easy, but these times require leadership, and if they mayor doesn’t want to lead, then he shouldn’t,” Clark concluded.
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) November 26, 2020
The following are a small sample of the types of responses that Hancock received online:
"I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver"
How can you be a leader & not get how wrong this is? This is the selfishness that keeps us in this mess & it's an insult to everyone sacrificing for the greater good. https://t.co/oUk7Eknpwd
— Seth Haber 🤔 (@sethhaber) November 26, 2020
I don’t usually jump in when people are apologizing to say “not good enough” but this is a typical “I’m sorry you feel that way.” He’s not sorry he did it, he’s sorry he got caught. https://t.co/oEcIygCVi8
— MirriamZary 🇦🇫 (@mirriam71) November 26, 2020
So you want special treatment for *your* family but everyone else is supposed to sacrifice time with theirs. https://t.co/H4m5mOHVeB
— Chad Felix Greene 🏳️🌈 (@chadfelixg) November 26, 2020
Congress should pass a law that if any gov't official violates their own COVID rules those rules get immediately invalidated.
Additionally any citizen who got fined for not following an order should be refunded.
RT if you want those who implement the "rules" to follow them! https://t.co/BKs4ur6tnA
— Adriana Cohen (@AdrianaCohen16) November 25, 2020
This has got to be one of the lamest, worst, poor excuses of a statement any politician caught with his hand in the cookie jar has ever issued. https://t.co/oUoYcDrDu8
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) November 26, 2020
Every small business in Denver that’s been closed should fully reopen right now and say their decision to was made of their heart, not their head. https://t.co/zsMyFnYQzQ
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) November 26, 2020
Part 5,792 of “Rules for thee but not for me” https://t.co/VufpsCVKzP
— Logan Ratick (@Logan_Ratick) November 26, 2020
Sorry, no forgiveness here @MayorHancock. No amount of rationalization on your part excuses you're hypocrisy. If you were truly sorry you'd rent a car and come home. But I doubt you have the cojones to do that. Your apology rings hollow. https://t.co/2xwLC2r2qt
— Michael D. Brown (@MichaelBrownUSA) November 26, 2020
Everyone who has ever been married knows the difference between “I’m sorry.” And “I’m sorry you’re upset.” https://t.co/L6e1jGSXKY
— Kelly Maher (@okmaher) November 26, 2020
What an entitled pompous ass. Just prior to his flight he tweeted that people should avoid travel. https://t.co/8O2jZxKBjX
— Alexandra Halaby 🇵🇸 🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈 #SheHerHers (@iskandrah) November 25, 2020
Truly amazing. Why do elected officials keep doing stuff like this? https://t.co/1lCUc9NeQb
— Byron York (@ByronYork) November 25, 2020
Democrats impose insane #COVID19 rules.
Expect regular Americans to obey without question.
Then don’t follow the rules themselves. https://t.co/d0ej0nYVVQ
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) November 25, 2020
Rules for thee, but not for me.
Is it any wonder why trust in our government and health officials continues to plummet this year? https://t.co/xA9wz4H71F
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) November 25, 2020
TLDR: I'm a hypocrite on matters of life and death, and I have no good excuse. https://t.co/vYq8HvDpUo
— Quentin Young (@qpyoungnews) November 25, 2020
JFC. At least he didn't shut down his city in the process https://t.co/lw7VmPPWSi
— Christopher D. White (@ZanderKelly30) November 25, 2020
Politician to frustrated and fatigued residents: Please, don't do X.
Politician ***literally 30 minutes later*** does X. https://t.co/18IG7ZWEX5
— Anthony Adragna (@AnthonyAdragna) November 25, 2020
Another do as I say not as I do politician apologizes for their hypocrisy.
In this case, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock who repeatedly urged Denverites not to travel for Thanksgiving but was caught flying off to Mississippi to see his wife and daughter. pic.twitter.com/6gsk4WXEjk
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 26, 2020
"who see my decision"
The only apology anyone makes anymore. "I apologize for you being wrong." https://t.co/qJLj3oscLC
— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) November 26, 2020
this is so embarrassing https://t.co/NQUESjClWJ
— alex scoville (@alexscoville) November 25, 2020
The mayor of Denver is traveling to Mississippi to visit his daughter after urging everyone not to travel for Thanksgiving. This thread boils down to, "I said we all need to sacrifice, but by 'we' I meant 'you'." https://t.co/9NAls2rY1p
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) November 26, 2020
And Newsom, Pelosi, Cuomo … hypocrisy from politicians who claim to trust the science isn't helping to strengthen dire public health messages /pleas from medical professionals and frontline workers.
Just infuriating. https://t.co/haNs3QVnU7
— Jackie Kucinich (@JFKucinich) November 25, 2020
oh for f's sake what are we doing here people https://t.co/BFZ5O0Z73I
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) November 25, 2020
Classic non-pology thread. He should try again. https://t.co/8hd3uuYh9g
— David Steele (@David_C_Steele) November 25, 2020