After violating his own rules, California’s governor offers deceitful excuses and announces new restrictions for the little people.
by Jacob Sullum
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.”