Gavin Newsom’s French Laundry Outing Crystallizes the Arrogance of COVID-19 Dictators
On November 6, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) sat down for a fancy dinner party at the tony Napa Valley restaurant The French Laundry, the state was in the midst of a COVID-19 surge. Newsom and other state officials were emphasizing the importance of following social distancing rules and wearing face masks in public places, as mandated by an order that the governor issued in June. They were urging Californians to forgo Thanksgiving dinners and other private social gatherings, which they had identified as an important source of virus transmission.
Yet there was the politician behind those policies, sitting shoulder to shoulder with people outside his household, celebrating the 50th birthday of his friend Jason Kinney, a prominent political strategist. To Newsom’s right was Dustin Corcoran, CEO of the California Medical Association (CMA). To the governor’s left was CMA lobbyist Janus Norman. There was not a mask in sight, although state rules required diners to wear face coverings except when they were “actively eating or drinking.”
After the dinner party came to light last Friday, Newsom apologized while suggesting there were extenuating circumstances. “It was in Napa, which was in the orange status, relatively loose compared to some other counties,” he told reporters on Monday, and “it was to be an outdoor restaurant.” But photos obtained this week by KTTV, the Fox station in Los Angeles, show that Newsom and company were in fact dining indoors, at a table near sliding glass doors the led to a courtyard. According to a witness, the doors were initially open but were closed because the birthday celebrators were making a lot of noise.
“As soon as I sat down at the larger table, I realized it was a little larger group than I had anticipated,” Newsom said, “and 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 and a number of other couples that were outside the household. We can quibble about the guidelines, etc., but the spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted, and I gotta own that. So I want to apologize to you, because I need to preach and practice, not just preach and not practice. And I’ve done my best to do that. We’re all hu
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