Another day, another story about a high-ranking Democrat flouting their own instructions to fight the coronavirus by staying home.
This time, it’s Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island. As WLNE-TV reported, Raimondo was caught sans mask at a table at Barnaby’s Public House in Providence, where she reportedly attended a wine and paint night last Friday.
Meet Rhode Island’s Gov Gina Raimondo – she told her citizens to stay home – she said they couldn’t even go to a friends house for a visit.
And this is Gina all gussied up at a wine bar, mask-free for a xmas wine/art event.
Why are you still listening to these people? pic.twitter.com/I9GsGIXfeO
— Amy (@RestingTwitFace) December 17, 2020
The problem? Earlier in the week, Raimondo had urged her constituents not to go out unless it was absolutely necessary.
“Please, stay home except for essential activities & wear a mask anytime you’re with people you don’t live with,” she tweeted.
It’s week two of our pause. I know it’s been hard, but I want to thank every Rhode Islander who’s following our guidance. Please, stay home except for essential activities & wear a mask anytime you’re with people you don’t live with. Together, we can turn our case numbers around.
— Gina Raimondo (@GovRaimondo) December 7, 2020
And on Thursday, she extended the statewide “pause” — code for lockdown — for an additional week, during which time social gatherings are to be “limited to your household.”
Today, I’m announcing that we are extending our pause one more week, ending on Sunday, December 20. pic.twitter.com/cp4fehFkZO
— Gina Raimondo (@GovRaimondo) December 10, 2020
Apparently, though, those rules are just for the little people — they do not apply to the governor herself.
A spokesperson for Raimondo’s officer claimed the governor followed the rules.
“The governor had dinner at a local restaurant with her husband, and had her mask on anytime she was not eating/drinking,” spokesperson Josh Block said.
Erica Oliveras, the woman who took the picture of Raimondo, also came out in the governor’s defense.
“The main thing I took out if it is, ‘Wow, she’s here at a small business and she’s supporting,” Oliveras told WLNE. “She came in. She supported. She bought wine.”
Supporting local business is all well and good. And depending on who was at her table, Raimondo may not have technically violated her coronavirus guidelines: Indoor dining is allowed at up to 33 percent capacity as long as everyone at a table is limited to a single household.
Still, it’s not a good look. It sends a message to Raimondo’s citizens that their lives and livelihoods aren’t as important as hers.
Of course, Raimondo isn’t alone in her hypocrisy. Plenty of Democratic leaders have imposed lockdowns on their citizenry while ignoring those lockdowns themselves.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has kept California locked down for months — but that didn’t stop him from attending a birthday party at The French Laundry in November.
Denver, Colorado, Mayor Michael Hancock advised people to stay home for Thanksgiving, avoiding travel and even home gatherings — and then he hopped on a plane to spend the holiday with family in Mississippi.
Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, Texas, told residents to stay home, then took a private jet to Mexico for a vacation at the family timeshare.
All of this really makes one wonder just how big of a deal the coronavirus is. It’s big enough for these elected officials to impose rules and lockdowns on their citizens, but not big enough to convince them to follow the same rules.
It begs the question: how much of the hype surrounding COVID is merited, and how much of it is politicians taking advantage of a crisis to increase their own power?
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