A Democratic congressman who last month said it was “reckless” that Orange County, California, did not close its beaches has been spotted on a private beach.
California Rep. Harley Rouda in April slammed Orange County for not closing beaches, tweeting, “[k]eeping Orange County beaches open during a heat wave is reckless. We need leaders who will prioritize public health and make the tough calls to keep our families safe.”
Keeping Orange County beaches open during a heat wave is reckless.
We need leaders who will prioritize public health and make the tough calls to keep our families safe. https://t.co/mbNGZ3cjDg
— Harley Rouda (@HarleyRouda) April 22, 2020
After crowds flocked to the beaches on the weekend following Rouda’s text, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all of Orange County’s public beaches closed.
But Rouda still found a way to hit the sand.
“Do as I say, not as I do: @HarleyRouda denounced Orange County for opening beaches in defiance to @GavinNewsom lock-downs, but over the weekend, Rouda was caught hanging out on what appears to be California’s only private beach, Emerald Bay, see photo below,” journalist Susan Crabtree tweeted.
Do as I say, not as I do: @HarleyRouda denounced Orange County for opening beaches in defiance to @GavinNewsom lock-downs, but over the weekend, Rouda was caught hanging out on what appears to be California’s only private beach, Emerald Bay, see photo below. https://t.co/xsGvykSChm pic.twitter.com/hgpYYoOOl7
— Susan Crabtree (@susancrabtree) May 5, 2020
Rouda’s campaign said in a statement that Rouda and his family “were actively moving and adequately socially distancing on a residential beach, which has explicitly outlined beach access requirements in accordance with Governor Newsom’s beach order,” CBS reported.
“Guess it was only ‘reckless’ for normal people to use the beach, not for powerful Congressmen like him (for whom apparently the rules do not apply),” a blog post on the group’s site read.
“People in power should lead by example and it’s a shame that Congressman Rouda thinks a year and a half in Congress has exempted him from the rules he expects everyone else to follow,” Calvin Moore, CLF’s communications director, said.
Rouda, who was elected in 2018, is facing a challenge from Republican Michelle Steel.
Many on Twitter said Rouda was wrong to venture out onto the beach.
Most of these “elite” feel like the rules are for we who haven’t the “sense” to think for ourselves. Hypocritical is who they are.
— James Sharp (@SharpJAllen) May 5, 2020
the elite like the peasants locked in their homes. this way they can have the beaches and parks all to themselves
— Ocitman (@Ocitman) May 5, 2020
On Thursday, Rouda had issued a statement calling for “a common-sense plan that prioritizes local residents’ physical and mental health — not indefinitely shut-down our beaches.”
“Orange County’s pristine beaches are more than tourist attractions — they are essential public spaces, like parks, that residents should be allowed to utilize safely. Opening beaches to thousands of Southern Californians during a weekend heat-wave without adequate social-distancing protocols was a reckless action that put the families of California’s 48th district in harm’s way,” he said in the statement.
“Unfortunately, this discussion has become political and polarizing with two extremes defining the debate — reopen everything immediately or continue the lockdown without an end in sight. Orange County residents, regardless of their political party, want their neighborhoods to remain safe and accessible. Most Americans are between the 20-yard lines, and I firmly believe there is a way to use common sense to find common ground.”
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