- Democratic lawmakers caught violating their own COVID-19 restrictions have attempted to explain away their actions in public apologies.
- Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer apologized Sunday after she was caught dining maskless indoors with a dozen people, violating her own COVID-19 restrictions, saying, “we didn’t stop to think about it.”
- Democratic Chicago, Illinois, Mayor Lori Lightfoot sparked a backlash in April 2020 when she got a haircut after telling citizens to stay home. She defended her haircut by saying she takes “personal hygiene very seriously.”
Many Democratic lawmakers who were caught violating their own COVID-19 restrictions have attempted to explain away their actions in public apologies.
The Daily Caller News Foundation has compiled lists of politicians or local lawmakers who spurned their own COVID-19 masking and social distancing rules — such as Democrats New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and many more. (RELATED: Over A Year Into The Pandemic, Politicians Are Still Getting Caught Ignoring Their Own COVID Restrictions)
The DCNF searched for, but did not find, examples of prominent Republicans who urged citizens to stay home due to COVID-19 and then did not follow their own advice.
Gretchen Whitmer: ‘We Didn’t Stop To Think’
Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer apologized Sunday after she was caught dining maskless indoors with a dozen people, violating her own COVID restrictions mandating that no more than six people may be seated at the same table.
Whitmer apologized and said “we didn’t stop to think about it.”
“Yesterday, I went with friends to a local restaurant. As more people arrived, the tables were pushed together,” the governor said, according to NBC affiliate WDIV of Detroit.
“Because we were all vaccinated, we didn’t stop to think about it,” she said. “In retrospect, I should have thought about it. I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize.”
Gavin Newsom: ‘I Made A Bad Mistake’
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom apologized in November after he was caught dining indoors at one of the highest-rated restaurants in the world despite his restrictive coronavirus guidelines for state citizens.
Newsom apologized for attending the dinner party, calling it a “bad mistake.”
“I made a bad mistake,” Newsom said. “I should have stood up and … drove back to my house.
“The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted,” he added. “I need to preach and practice, not just preach.”
Lori Lightfoot: Takes ‘Personal Hygiene Very Seriously’
Democratic Chicago, Illinois, Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged citizens to stay at home in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions until she needed to get a haircut in April 2020.
Following massive backlash, she defended her haircut by saying she takes “personal hygiene very seriously.”
“I’m the public face of this city,” Lightfoot said, “and you know, I’m a person who [takes] personal hygiene very seriously and I felt like I needed to have a haircut. So I got a haircut.”
Ralph Northam: ‘I Wasn’t Prepared To Talk To The Public’
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam apologized in May 2020 after he was caught without a face mask at Virginia Beach while weighing a statewide order requiring citizens to wear masks. The governor’s office later explained that Northam was “not expecting to be within six feet of anyone.”
“I was outside, saw people who wanted to take pictures and I wasn’t prepared,” Northam said, adding that he took full responsibility for his actions. “I was there to talk to officials and the media. I wasn’t prepared to talk to the public.”
Michael Hancock: ‘My Heart And Not My Head’
Democratic Denver Mayor Michael Hancock warned citizens to “avoid travel” in a tweet only 30 minutes before he boarded a flight to travel to his family for Thanksgiving. The mayor later told the city’s board of ethics that though his Thanksgiving travels were a mistake, they were not a violation of the city’s ethics.
Hancock said in his apology that he violated his own COVID-19 restrictions using his heart, not his head.
“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,” the mayor said.
Steve Adler: ‘I Missed The Larger Context’
Austin Mayor Steve Adler hosted 20 guests at an outdoor wedding and reception for his daughter in early November and then boarded a private jet the next day to fly to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for vacation. In a Facebook video message to Austin residents, Adler urged Texans to “stay home if you can,” warning, “This is not the time to relax. We are going to be looking really closely.… We may have to close things down if we are not careful.”
Adler said in his apology that he needs to send “a clearer message” and that he was too focused on making sure his daughter’s wedding and his vacation complied with COVID-19 policies to understand the “larger context.”
“At the time, I did not see the more important and greater issues because I was too focused on making sure that Sarah’s wedding and my family’s trip complied with local and state orders and guidelines,” he said. “That focus was wrong because I missed the larger context in a really big way.”
Gina Raimondo: The Protest Was ‘Tense And Hectic’
Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo apologized after she was caught violating her own mask order in June 2020 when she met with protestors without a mask. The governor was seen praying, protesting, and hugging the demonstrators in downtown Providence.
“The late hours in front of the State House last night were tense and hectic, and in that moment I neglected to put on a mask,” she said. “That was wrong, it was counter to our public health guidance, and I apologize. I have worked today to track down the names of those I was in contact with so that they can be added to my contact tracing notebook.”
Jim Kenney: ‘I Felt The Risk Was Low’
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mayor Jim Kenney was photographed dining indoors without a mask in Maryland in late August while indoor dining was prohibited in his home city.
Kenney said he felt the “risk was low.”
“I know some are upset that I dined indoors at a restaurant in Maryland yesterday,” he said in his apology. “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,” he added. “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.”
Sam Liccardo: ‘I Have A Very large Family’
Democratic San Jose, California, Mayor Sam Liccardo attended a Thanksgiving party with family members who were not part of his own household after telling citizens to “cancel big gatherings this year.”
“In summary, eight of us representing five households sat around three distanced tables in our own family groups on the back patio, and we wore masks when not eating,” Liccardo said in his apology. “I have a very large family—I am one of five children–and several of our family members who would have often joined us for Thanksgiving in the past—including sisters, nephews, nieces, and cousins—stayed home out of caution.”
I apologize for my decision to gather for Thanksgiving with my family, contrary to the rules. I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance w/ public health orders, & not to ignore them. I commit to do better. My statement: pic.twitter.com/LFhX2LCUf3
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) December 1, 2020
“I apologize for my decision to gather contrary to state rules, by attending this Thanksgiving meal with my family,” he added. “I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance with the public health orders, and certainly not to ignore them. I commit to do better.”
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