California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is in the middle of controversy after attending a birthday party in Napa County despite being critical of crowds during the pandemic crisis and especially against people gathering outside their homes for the upcoming holiday season.
According to Politico, Newsom had to offer an apology on Friday, Nov. 13, after echoing his attendance at a dinner at the prestigious French Laundry restaurant to celebrate the 50th birthday of lobbyist Jason Kinney, a lifelong friend.
The Democrat responded to outraged Californians, saying “letting their guard down on Monday” and admitting it was a mistake to attend the dinner, which was attended by at least 12 people.
Nathan Click, Newsom’s communications director, came to his defense, saying he and his wife “followed public health guidelines and the restaurant’s protocols—all in line with the state’s rules for restaurant operation.”
According to infectious disease expert John Swartzberg, Newsom’s behavior should be up to the task and should serve as an example for people. “That’s what comes with the responsibility of being a leader,” he added, according to the Washington Times.
“Whether or not it abides the letter of the guidance, I think it’s not a good idea,” added clinical professor emeritus of the School of Public Health at the University of Berkeley.
As stipulated by Napa County, as well as general state regulations, meetings of more than three households are prohibited, and in addition, the meetings must be held outdoors and last a maximum of two hours.
The news was released less than two hours after Newsom recommended that Californians refrain from traveling during the vacations or gather several households for Thanksgiving, according to Politico.
The media cited above indicated that several counties in California have taken a step backward by implementing more restrictive levels of confinement this month as cases, infection rates, and hospitalization numbers have increased.
President Donald Trump, who has opposed state closures, reaffirmed his administration’s position during a press conference on Nov. 13, where he emphasized that tighter restrictions could worsen the economic effects of the pandemic.
“A national lockdown costs 50 billion dollars a day and hundreds of thousands of jobs every single day,” President Trump stated. “Ideally, we won’t go into a lockdown. This administration will not be going into a lockdown,” as reported by One America News Network.
Meanwhile, the House leadership received several criticisms on Friday for holding a formal dinner to welcome members who were newly elected to the House amid the pandemic.
NBC News congressional correspondent Leigh Ann Caldwell sparked controversy on social networks by posting a Twitter image showing the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol building filled with dining tables.
“House Dem and GOP leaders are holding respective dinners for new members,” Caldwell wrote. “@SpeakerPelosi told me it’s safe. ‘It’s very spaced,’ she said and there is enhanced ventilation and the Capitol physician signed off.”