Denver Mayor Michael Hancock caught a flight to Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, just minutes after warning Denver residents on Twitter to “avoid travel, if you can” amid a record-breaking surge of coronavirus in Colorado.
Earlier this month, the mayor also urged city staff to stay home in an email, writing, “as the holidays approach, we all long to be with our families in person, but with the continued rise in cases, I’m urging you to refrain from travel this Thanksgiving holiday. For my family that means cancelling our traditional gathering of our extended family.”
A spokesperson said the mayor was only attending a small gathering and taking proper health precautions.
"As he has shared, the Mayor is not hosting his traditional large family dinner this year, but instead traveling alone to join his wife and daughter where the three of them will celebrate Thanksgiving at her residence instead of having them travel back to Denver," the mayor's spokesperson told KUSA 9News, which broke the story. "Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine."
Mr Hancock’s decision to travel was met with swift condemnation, including from 9News itself.
“This is the last time Denver needs to hear public health guidance from Mayor Hancock,” one of their reporters tweeted.
Like much of the country, Colorado is experiencing a surge in Covid cases, and governor Jared Polis said on Tuesday that one in 41 state residents were infectious, the highest level since the pandemic started.
The Denver mayor isn’t the only Democratic leader to contradict their own public health advice recently.
California Governor Gavin Newsom caused a scandal earlier this month when he visited French Laundry, a luxury restaurant in Northern California’s wine country, to attend an outdoor birthday dinner for a longtime friend and political adviser, alongside top representatives from the California Medical Association.
He later apologised and said it was “bad mistake,” and that he needed “to preach and practise, not just preach” Covid safety.
Nancy Pelosi also violated coronavirus rules in late August when she visited an indoor hair salon in San Francisco, and later claimed the incident, which went viral, was a political “setup” and that the salon said it was following local rules.
The nationwide coronavirus outbreak hasn’t stopped people, politicians and civilians alike, from traveling for Thanksgiving. The Transportation Security Administration says nearly two million people traveled through TSA checkpoints on Tuesday and Wednesday.