Calif. Gov. Newsom prime example of ‘rampant’ COVID-19 hypocrisy: Chen
Lanhee Chen and Jessica Tarlov discuss lawmakers who violate their own coronavirus guidelines on ‘Outnumbered Overtime’
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is still facing backlash for dining at a restaurant with a large group while pushing new coronavirus restrictions on indoor dining during a spike in cases, and President-elect Joe Biden has yet to weigh in on the matter.
Biden campaigned on taking a tougher approach to combat COVID-19, and has suggested that he will work with governors or even mayors to enforce face mask requirements nationwide.
Newsom himself has apologized for the incident, but when asked for comment, the Biden transition team did not respond. Neither did New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has held himself out as a leader in response to the pandemic.
They are not the only ones who have kept quiet on the issue. Most major networks hardly addressed the matter.
Despite the growing controversy and the backlash he has received, ABC, CBS, and NBC gave the story zero coverage over the course of several days since the incident emerged during both their morning and evening broadcasts.
CNN made brief mentions of it on Saturday, with several brief references on Wednesday. On MSNBC, only host Chris Hayes discussed the issue in primetime, and he condemned Newsom for his actions.
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"What are we doing here, people?!? What are we doing?!?" Hayes exclaimed. "These people should all know better! California added 9,800 new cases today, over 60 deaths… This is not leading by example. And they live in a part of the country where it's still pretty warm outside. It's California — go outside! Go have socially –distanced cocktails at one of your donor's Malibu mansions!"
Republicans, meanwhile, have criticized Newsom for what they view as hypocrisy.
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“He’s the one telling people to change their Thanksgiving plans – yet he himself is gathering privately at an expensive restaurant that many Californians can’t afford,” Republican State Assemblyman James Gallagher told Fox News Wednesday night.
Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer and a California GOP committeewoman, said the governor’s night out had a “Marie Antoinette feel to it – ‘let them eat cake.’”
Biden has declined to call out his own side before over coronavirus issues: on the day he was projected the winner of the White House race, he did not address concerns that some mass celebrations of his victory in cities across the country may contribute to the spread of coronavirus.
Fox News' Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.
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