California governor Newsom under fire for attending dinner amid surge

Photos of Gavin Newsom and his wife taken earlier this month show a clear case of 'Do what I say, not what I do.'

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom is under fire for attending a Nov. 6 birthday dinner with his wife in a clear case of “Do what I say, not what I do.”

Photos surfaced this week of Newsom having dinner at the posh French Laundry, a restaurant characterized by The New York Times as “a temple of haute cuisine in Napa Valley where some prix fixe meals go for $450 per person.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is shown at a public update about the state’s response to the coronavirus back in February, a day after a possible first case of person-to-person transmission was reported in Northern California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“No one around the table wore masks, not the lobbyists, not even the governor,” its report reads.

Newsom called his attendance “a bad mistake” and apologized.

His state, like most others, is asking its residents to not gather groups for Thanksgiving-Day celebration dinners to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so every recent action appears under a microscope. 

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Newsom was certainly seen.

“California Medical Association officials were among the guests seated next to Gov. Gavin Newsom at a top California political operative’s opulent birthday dinner at the French Laundry restaurant this month,” according to Politico.

Dustin Corcoran, chief executive officer for the California Medical Association, and top CMA lobbyist Janus Norman both joined the dinner at the French Laundry, which celebrated the 50th birthday of lobbyist and longtime Newsom adviser Jason Kinney.

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Photos from the event put its safety under dispute, as it appeared to be a dinner with approximately 12 people seated outside. 

“Just because we’re personally close to someone, a family member, a really close friend who we haven’t seen in a while, that doesn’t create comfort when it comes to COVID,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, head of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said last week. 

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“While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner,” Newsom said since in a statement.

When cross-party members of the House of Representatives faced recent criticism for a dinner welcoming its freshman class, the event was later “modified to allow Members-elect to pick up their meals to go in a socially-distanced manner.”

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