Gov. Newsom Sets Strict Gathering Guidelines, Then Faces Backlash For Breaking His Own Rules At French Laundry Dinner Party

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Your daily dose of hypocrisy. Governor Newsom has created ridiculously strict guidelines for Californians, yet completely disregards those rules for himself.

So how did we get here?

Remember when the Office of the Governor of California (Governor Newsom’s office) recommended that Californians put their mask on BETWEEN BITES while dining with others? Completely ridiculous, but they were entirely serious. Made it official and everything, with an infographic posted on Twitter.

About a week later, on October 9th, the California Department of Public Health issued their guidance for Thanksgiving gatherings, saying,

“Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests. … Participating in multiple gatherings with different households or groups is strongly discouraged. … All gatherings must be held outside. Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized. … Gatherings may occur in outdoor spaces that are covered by umbrellas, canopies, awnings, roofs, and other shade structures provided that at least three sides of the space (or 75%) are open to the outdoors.”

“People at gatherings may remove their face coverings briefly to eat or drink as long as they stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done with the activity.”

Governor Newsom was very specific that gatherings including individuals from more than 3 households are PROHIBITED, that face coverings must be worn at all times except for BRIEF removal for eating and drinking, and that 6 feet of distance between all individuals is to be STRICTLY maintained.

There was definitely some backlash from the micromanaging restrictions that seemed to assume that Californians are too stupid to make responsible choices for themselves based on individual situations and personal choices. (News flash, that’s exactly what they think.)

Then, on October 13th, Governor Gavin Newsom of California joined Oregon and Washington governors in issuing a joint travel advisory discouraging all nonessential travel. Simultaneously, much of California regressed into more restrictive tiers of Covid lockdown. In fact, more than half of Californians were put back into the most extreme “purple-tier” restrictions.

The very next day, the San Francisco Chronicle broke the news that Governor Newsom had attended a dinner party at a swanky restaurant, French Laundry, along with partygoers from more households than he himself had advised for Californians in multiple mandates just weeks and days before. Reportedly, at least 12 people from many separate households dined together, in close proximity, without masks, in celebration of Newsom’s advisor Jason Kinney.

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There sits Governor Newsom, at a party, in very close proximity to a dozen individuals from many households, allegedly inside the restaurant with sliding doors closed, with nary a mask in sight.

Not only that, but the California Medical Association CEO Dustin Corcoran and top California Medical Association lobbyist Janus Norman were in attendance as well!

After the photos surfaced, the California Medical Association put out a statement that

“the dinner was held in accordance with state and county guidelines.”

And Gov. Newsom apologized said,

“I made a bad mistake. I should have stood up and … drove back to my house. The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted. I need to preach and practice, not just preach.”

But that sure doesn’t quell the frustration of hundreds of thousands of Californians who saw him break the very restrictions under which they are so rigidly being kept. Governor Newsom apparently has one set of rules for himself and his elite friends, and another set of rules for California citizens. Yet another case of “rules for the but not for me.”