On Wednesday, new details and photos of Governor Gavin Newsom’s controversial attendance at a birthday party at the French Laundry earlier this month revealed that Newsom had lied about some of the circumstances of the event, had broken more COVID-19 guidelines than originally thought, and was joined by some of California’s top medical officials there.
Preliminary reports last Friday had found that Governor Newsom had attended a birthday party for his longtime advisor and current Axiom Advisors lobbyist Jason Kinney with his wife at the famed Napa County restaurant. The party had broke numerous state guidelines, including having a dozen people of differing households be together in one place. However, representatives for Newsom and Kinney also pointed out that the dinner had been outside, with proper health guidelines such as social distancing and the use of PPE being followed.
“His kids can learn in person. But yours can’t,” tweeted outgoing Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Friday. “He can celebrate birthday parties. But you can’t. He can dine on a $350 meal at one California’s fanciest restaurants during the worst recession in generations. But you definitely can’t. Can you believe this? I can’t.”
His kids can learn in person. But yours can’t.
He can celebrate birthday parties. But you can’t.
He can dine on a $350 meal at one California’s fanciest restaurants during the worst recession in generations. But you definitely can’t.
Can you believe this? I can’t. https://t.co/lmRBWh9rpS
— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) November 14, 2020
“I want to apologize to you because I need to preach and practice, not just preach and not practice, and I’ve done my best to do that,” said Newsom on Monday. “We’re all human. We all fall short sometimes.”
“As soon as I sat down at the larger table I realized it was a little larger group than I had anticipated and I made a bad mistake. Instead of sitting down, I should have stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove back to my house. That’s why you have to own it, and you have to be forthright and I’m doing my best every single day in trying to model better behavior.”
However, further revelations on Wednesday, first broken by Fox 11 in Los Angeles, found that the dinner had not been properly social distanced, that the guests, including Newsom, were not wearing masks, and that it had in fact been indoors due to sliding glass doors being closed due to the noise levels of the guests, with none of the guests correcting it. Photos from the event, also obtained by Fox 11, only prove this.
“The photos call into question just how outdoors the dinner was,” said Bill Melugin for Fox 11 on Wednesday. “A witness who took photos tells us his group was so loud, the sliding doors had to be closed.”
EXCLUSIVE: We've obtained photos of Governor Gavin Newsom at the Napa dinner party he's in hot water over. The photos call into question just how outdoors the dinner was. A witness who took photos tells us his group was so loud, the sliding doors had to be closed. 10pm on @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/gtOVEwa864
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) November 18, 2020
Newsom had also been joined by medical officials, finds self in more hot water on Wednesday
Another report on Wednesday from Politico found that the dinner had been attended from some of the top medical lobbyists in the state. Specifically, they were with the California Medical Association (CMA), an organization that represents more than 50,000 doctors in California alone.
CMA CEO Dustin Corcoran and CMA lobbyist Janus Norman, friends of Kinney, were also at the dinner, and had not fixed or altered the arrangements despite clearly being against numerous California health guidelines. In the above photo, Norman can even be seen sitting next to Newsom.
The revelations on Wednesday led to increased criticism of Newsom for not abiding by his own health guidelines which he touted, as well as for lying about the newly revealed circumstances of the dinner.
“Those images don’t lie,” explained Rhea Powers, a Los Angeles-based publicist who specializes in lawmakers, to the Globe in an interview. “He had apologized well on Monday, and even his political opponents were seeing it as a lapse in judgement. Every Californian had broken one of the rules at one point or another, so it would likely have been forgiven in time. He only gave an apology because he was caught too, but again, time heals all wounds. Then this happened.”
“It’s hard to deny everything there. He is clearly there without a mask on, being very close to people, inside somewhere. Not only is he breaking more guidelines than we thought, he had flat-out lied about them. And not only that, but he broke them next to people from a medical group who should have known better, who were all friends with the lobbyist at the party. That makes it even worse.
“Newsom went from being apologetic, if a bit tone deaf considering how expensive that restaurant is, to a big-time liar who now comes across as not playing by his own rules, being callous, and just not really caring if he does things his way. He had always touted these rules and really went in to Californians who had gone to the beach during the summer in defiance of the rules. But today he proved that he’s not really better than anyone. Worse now, actually, since he has been caught in a huge lie about it.
“He was caught lying repeatedly about safety precautions he himself touted, then didn’t do, all the while doing it at one of the most expensive restaurants in the country surrounded by political insiders and lobbyists. I don’t envy his publicist or press people right now.”
The Governor is expected to make another announcement following today’s revelations later on Wednesday.