California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom is in hot water after pictures emerged of him attending a birthday dinner on November 6 while failing to socially distance or wear a mask. There were also more than three households at the event, which breaks COVID guidelines imposed by the state of California.
The party was held for Jason Kinney, a California political operative.
A spokesperson for Kinney originally told Fox 11 Los Angeles, “The guests and the restaurant followed all applicable state and county public health guidance. The guests specifically required outdoor seating. And that’s outdoor seating, as confirmed and provided by the restaurant.”
However, the recent photos appear to show that at least part of the event was held indoors.
Gov. Newsom has now put out a video apologizing for attending the party.
“As soon as I sat down at the larger table, I realized it was a little larger group than I had anticipated,” he said. “I made a bad mistake. Instead of sitting down, I should have stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove back to my house. Instead, I chose to sit there with my wife… The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted, and I have got to own that, and so I want to apologize to you.”
“I need to preach and practice, and not just preach and not practice… We’re all human, we all fall short sometimes,” he said, adding in some Biblical allusions. “I shouldn’t have been there; I should have turned back around… You also own the mistake and you never make it again, and you have my word on that.”
Politico reports that top California Medical Association (CMA) officials were also in attendance at the dinner.
“CEO Dustin Corcoran and top CMA lobbyist Janus Norman both joined the dinner at the French Laundry,” Politico writes. “The state has issued guidelines prohibiting more than three households from gathering privately — a limit clearly exceeded by the French Laundry dinner.”
Another irony regarding the governor’s restaurant visit is that the official Twitter account of Gov. Newson’s office published a tweet at the beginning of October encouraging patrons to wear a mask in between bites.
“Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend? Don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites,” the governor’s office tweeted. “Do your part to keep those around you healthy.”
In the pictures of the event, Gov. Newsom wasn’t wearing a mask.
However, it now appears that California’s governor and CMA lobbyists are not the only political insiders from The Golden State breaking their own rules.
Other California state lawmakers recently travelled to Maui, Hawaii to attend an annual gathering of lobbyists and legislators.
All travelers to Hawaii must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or obtain a negative COVID test within 72-hours of travelling to the state.
“There are risks to traveling because visitors could still face exposure on the island and bring the virus home,” Politico writes.
“Anybody organizing an in-person event should think carefully about the optics, particularly in California, where the governor has just sent most of the state into purple,” said Jack Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College. “There’s a chance this will not be received well by the general public.”
You can follow this author on Twitter @MettlerZachary
Photo from Amir Aziz / Shutterstock.com