The California Democrat confirmed to reporters, Friday evening, that the post-election reception that she was about to host for less than 50 incoming and re-elected members was socially distant and the House doctor agreed: “It’s too far apart.”
A few hours later, amid an angry reaction on social media – including from people who questioned why they should not be allowed to bury their dead while lawmakers attend lavish parties – Pelosi Dinner canceledAnd turn it into a takeaway meal instead.
It was the latest in a series of moves by the spokesperson, who has routinely fired Republicans for their irresponsible behavior during the pandemic, and that has played into the hands of critics who see double standards.
During the first 10 months of the pandemic, Pelosi turned down calls for regular virus testing to lawmakers traveling back and forth across the country, though her Republican Senate counterparts did. And early on, she was recorded on camera brushing her hair at a San Francisco salon despite local bans on such services.
The outrage over Friday’s dinner highlights a puzzle facing the Democratic Party as infections have spiked again: With Joe Biden controlling the White House and many party leaders calling for strict restrictions, Democrats will have to be careful not to show hypocrisy – especially as Americans are called to curb. Sharply from Thanksgiving gatherings.
“We’ve seen a lot of double standards,” said Representative Mike Johnson (R from Los Angeles). They impose these strict restrictions and then they go and violate their own regulations. I can tell you what people think back home in Louisiana – I mean, they’ve been so frustrated about what they see as a double standard and see political leaders say one thing and then not practice it. “
However, Pelosi and the Democrats were more aware of the limitations of the Coronavirus than Trump and the Republican Party. Unlike the outgoing president, the speaker always wore a mask in public, while Trump mocked those who followed doctors’ orders and covered their faces.
Trump spent most of the fall flying around the country, Attend campaign gatherings And hosting the White House events – in the end, he contracted the same virus after A. Celebrate the rose garden For then-Supreme Court nominee Amy Connie Barrett, that became an obvious event of prowess.
Over the weekend, while Pelosi canceled her reception, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) offered his own version of Welcome to New Members, hosting about 90 lawmakers in one room for a short happy hour on the second floor of the Capitol Building.
But unlike her Republican counterparts, Pelosi has portrayed herself and her fellow Democrats as exemplary citizens in this year of crisis. She called the Democrats the “Flag Party,” beating Republicans all year for their irresponsible behavior and their disregard for the precautions doctors recommended.
Pelosi Hit that note again At mid-morning on Friday morning, Trump and the Republican Party raped at a news conference for their failure to “listen to the science” and to say that separation and isolation would help “eliminate the virus.” That was seven hours before dinner.
Representative David N. Ceclin (DRI) Switching to eating out was the right move and such decisions are not always easy.
“I think the members are trying to navigate this, working in Congress and welcoming the new members of Congress … just like people try to figure out how to set up certain important events in their lives.” This is all new for everyone. ”
But the dinner initially threatened to present a divided picture on the screen that prompted critics to complain that elite leaders were mocking the tough restrictions they imposed on the public. And it wasn’t the first time this had happened to Pelosi.
The spokeswoman caught up earlier in the fall when she was subjected to a special blowout of her hair at a salon despite having these types of services suspended. Pelosi said she doesn’t know the activities are prohibited and that they were created by the salon owner.
She also regularly travels across the continent on commercial flights when federal officials discourage the public from doing so, though her office says there is no other option. As of this week, it has refused to accept offers from military officials who have repeatedly offered to test the Coronavirus to lawmakers traveling to and from their regions, despite its slogan “test, test and test.”
Pelosi’s advocates argued that she followed the advice of a House doctor on everything, including Friday’s dinner. Her office said the event was slated to be a social distant – four to 10-person roundtable, for a total of under 50. They said the Capitol’s architect had also installed a new air filtration system to keep people safe, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But after an NBC reporter tweeted a picture of the tables set up for the ceremonial gathering, criticism continued to pile up on social media as well as on Capitol Hill. Ultimately, the party leaders ordered the freshmen to eat a boxed dinner and return to their offices.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hamill tweeted amid the backlash: “Our office is strictly following the directions of the treating physician’s office, including this dinner.” “To be another model for the nation, this event was modified to allow elected members to eat their meals in a way that is far from community.”
Hamill noted that the offices of the Capitol engineer and home physician had overseen the lying in the state of late Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg and civil rights icon John Lewis. Both events took place during the pandemic, Hamill said, and none resulted in any cases of coronavirus.
Nonetheless, the issue remained sensitive for Democratic House members, who hate to openly criticize the House speaker – even as many complain in private. In response to a question about the optics in Friday’s incident, Representative Hakim Jeffries, the fifth Democratic Representative in the House of Representatives, pulled out lightly from New York. He said, “You know I have no comment on that – great comment.”
Representative Jim McGovern (D-Maas) added, “I don’t know enough about that” for comment. He said, “I am not invited to any dinner.”
Pelosi is not the only democracy that conflicts with coronavirus restrictions. California State. Owns Gavin Newsome He expressed regret For a birthday party on November 6 with a small group of friends at the exclusive French Laundry.
Moreover, Pelosi’s allies argue that it is unfair to criticize the speaker while the Republican Party has performed much worse throughout the year. Republicans have frequently met indoors while Democrats have moved on to phone, virtual, and outdoor events.
On Capitol Hill, many Republican members of the House of Representatives attended the committee hearings without masks. This prompted a frustrated Pelosi over the summer to order masks in public, while also arranging for remote committee hearings and allowing proxy voting in the House of Representatives.
This week, House Republicans plan to conduct their own leadership election, while Democrats will vote for their leaders electronically. In the Senate, Republicans still routinely meet for weekly lunches on the Capitol.
On Sunday, in the wake of Pelosi’s backlash, House Republicans canceled an all-plated dinner they were planning for new Republican students. But they were still sipping and eating dinner with their new mates at a brief happy hour in which two of the attendees sat at 45 small tables – a gathering that Pelosi’s allies noted was twice as large as her potential dinner.
Republicans, many of whom appeared repeatedly in public without face protection, have also been infected more than Democrats: Since April 1, 19 Republicans in Congress have tested positive, Rep. Tim Wahlberg is the most recent. Eight Democrats reported positive results, according to Recent NPR tally.
The final controversy comes from Republicans and Democrats Controversy continues In the form of another coronavirus relief bill to help those who have suffered economically from the pandemic.
Pelosi has criticized the Republican Party for refusing to support a $ 2.2 trillion proposal it said would help ordinary Americans, while Republican lawmakers insist a smaller, more targeted package would make more sense. Biden urged Congress on Monday to approve a copy of Pelosi’s proposal, although some Democratic House members complain that it has played a difficult role for so long in negotiations.
The back and forth movement on Friday also highlighted the little-known physician who is attending the House of Representatives and whom Pelosi has repeatedly cited in justifying what some consider questionable coronavirus decisions. After Friday dinner, Brian Monahan initially approved Pelosi’s plan not to test members who criss-cross the country before they vote in the House of Representatives.
Manaan’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Paul Kane contributed to this report.