AP Reports on Politicians Neglecting COVID Guidelines, Conveniently Leaves Out Their Party


When is a politician’s party not important? When he’s breaking the rules and he’s a Democrat, evidently.

On Monday, The Associated Press ran a story about politicians breaking their own COVID-19 lockdown rules or suggestions. Under the headline “‘Do as I say’: Anger as some politicians ignore virus rules,” the article explored voters’ unhappiness with politicians flouting their rhetoric when it comes to containing the novel coronavirus when it means having a good time themselves.

I have to admit, writer Juliet Williams manages an impressive opening — the kind of punchy lede a good straight news story should have, all without excessive editorializing:

“Denver’s mayor flies to Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with his family — after urging others to stay home. He later says he was thinking with ‘my heart and not my head.’ A Pennsylvania mayor bans indoor dining, then eats at a restaurant in Maryland. The governor of Rhode Island is photographed at an indoor wine event as her state faces the nation’s second-highest virus rate,” Williams wrote.

“While people weigh whether it’s safe to go to work or the grocery store, the mayor of Austin, Texas, heads to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on a private jet after hosting a wedding for 20. California’s governor dines at a swanky French restaurant with lobbyists, none wearing masks, a day after San Francisco’s mayor was there for a birthday party. Both had recently imposed tough rules on restaurants, shops and activities to slow the spread of the virus.”

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Williams goes on to point out, not wrongly, that this kind of let-them-eat-DoorDash attitude can give voters the impression these politicians aren’t just above the law but are part of a new COVID aristocracy, one that gets to enjoy life as if things were status quo ante while the rest of us hunker down with our Netflix, our pets and our social isolation.

“In a monarchy, a king or queen is special, born to the role, cast as above the rest. In a dictatorship, the ruler often takes more spoils than the ruled,” she wrote.

“But in a democratic society, where leaders are drawn from among the very people who must abide by their decisions, what happens when those in charge act in ways that suggest they’re above those who are not?”

That sentence is interesting in two ways, however. Yes, it raises serious questions about what our politicians believe they’re entitled to. Is there any particular word that sticks out to you there?

Is the establishment media biased in favor of Democrats?

I’m thinking, specifically, of “democratic.” It’s one of two times a word with the root “democrat” is used in the story.

Only once is it used as a proper noun — as in, a member of the Democratic Party. This is interesting, because every single example Williams used in her lede involves a member of the Democratic Party.

Let’s go through the individuals mentioned in Williams’ lede seriatim. On Nov. 25, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat, tweeted this:

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A half-hour after he told residents to “Avoid travel, if you can,” Hancock boarded a flight for a very voluntary trip to spend Thanksgiving in Mississippi.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, banned indoor dining in his city over the summer. In late August, he was spotted dining in neighboring Maryland, and not al fresco:

“I felt the risk was low because the county I visited has had fewer than 800 COVID-19 cases, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia,” Kenney said in a tweet. “Regardless, I understand the frustration.”

And if you can, get down to Maryland. I hear they have great seafood. If you have a motorcade to take you, I highly recommend it.

On Dec. 7, Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo tweeted this:

On Dec. 17, someone else tweeted this:

According to WLNE-TV, Raimondo defended herself by saying she was only without a mask when she was eating or drinking — and she had a glass of wine in her hand at the time. This was a wine bar, after all.

“My rules as I have said are stay with your household, that’s what we were doing, wear your mask, that’s what we did,” she said. “I’ve also been asking Rhode Islanders to shop local, which is what we were doing.”

A representative of the Rhode Island Department of Commerce told the outlet the rules are “in reference to places like arcades or entertainment venues that also have venues in them. An activity like the painting night would be allowed as long as there are protocols in place to prevent sharing of tools between households.”

You figure that one out yourself.

Meanwhile, Democrat Steve Adler, mayor of Austin, Texas, filmed himself telling people to stay home … while in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

And as for Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s attending poorly distanced events at a swanky Napa Valley restaurant called the French Laundry within a day of one another, well, you probably remember those.

In her article, Williams was able to capture the frustration people felt at the Marie Antoinette-style COVID-regulation flouting.

“To Erica Bohn, 49, who hasn’t hugged her adult children since March, it feels like a slap in the face,” Williams wrote.

“’The disconnect is really confusing to me. These are intelligent, well-educated, well-informed people that should know better,’ said Bohn, a financial consultant from Champaign, Illinois. ‘It’s no wonder people are confused or don’t believe what politicians say.’”

As for capturing what party these politicians belonged to? Only one — Newsom — had his party identification mentioned, and he’s well-known enough that it’s the one case where mentioning his affiliation seemed superfluous.

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom has fielded weeks of questions about whether he’s a credible coronavirus messenger after dining out with a group,” Williams wrote. “The Democrat has called it a lapse in judgment but has ignored questions about whether Californians can still trust him. A growing effort to gather enough signatures for a recall vote shows that many have had enough.”

That’s it.

Williams found a sample size of six major political hypocrites whose decision to break their own rules made headlines. All six were from the same party. They’re also from the party that tends to advocate stricter lockdown measures. Even without that fact, that correlation wasn’t worth mentioning?

Do you think we’d be left wondering if they were Republicans?

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture