On Thursday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo gave an interview with NBC saying that he didn’t know that he had broken state social gathering guidelines during Thanksgiving, despite evidence pointing to the fact that he had been well aware of gathering guidelines.
As the California Globe had previously noted, Mayor Liccardo had recently come out saying that he and his family had broken state gathering guidelines during Thanksgiving. He had spent Thanksgiving with 7 relatives from 5 households at an outdoor gathering in Saratoga, despite new California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines early last week being changed to prohibiting all gatherings with more than three households.
On Monday, news of Mayor Liccardo’s guideline breaking was first reported, with Liccardo saying that he had not known about the guidelines being in place until Monday.
“There’s no question that it was on me to know better,” explained Mayor Liccardo earlier this week. “The rules are there to save lives. I need to do a much better job at showing folks how to follow the rules. I failed.
“Eight of us representing five households sat around three distanced tables in our own family groups on the back patio, and we wore masks when not eating. I have a very large family—I am one of five children–and several of our family members who would have often joined us for Thanksgiving in the past—including sisters, nephews, nieces, and cousins—stayed home out of caution.”
The incident quickly became compared with numerous other Californian officials skirting gathering guidelines including San Francisco Mayor London Breed and, most infamously, Governor Newsom going to a birthday party at the French Laundry. The increasingly negative response to Liccardo’s action, especially on social media, led to Liccardo issuing a formal apology on Tuesday, noting once again that he had not known about the new guidelines.
“I should have known that there was a prohibition on more than three households,” added Liccardo on Tuesday. “What I learned really, literally, the day before I released the public statement, and what I should have known was that, that prohibition was not merely a recommendation, it was a prohibition. And so that’s on me.”
However, tweets from the previous week were soon brought up, showing that Mayor Liccardo had been urging residents to cancel big gatherings, seemingly aware of the new rules before gathering on Thanksgiving.
“Cases are spiking, in part because we’re letting our guard (and masks) down with family & friends. Let’s cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe,” tweeted the Mayor last week.
Cases are spiking, in part because we’re letting our guard (and masks) down with family & friends. Let’s cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe https://t.co/oHFXb6DZ82
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) November 25, 2020
The hypocrisy was again pointed out on social media, leading to Liccardo claiming once again on Thursday that he had not known about the guidelines.
“Hopefully, my mistake will save lives,” Liccardo said on Thursday. “By being very clear about the fact that I own my mistake, hopefully others will appreciate the importance of following those rules. I should have known that there was a prohibition on more than three households. What I learned really, literally, the day before I released the public statement, and what I should have known was that, that prohibition was not merely a recommendation, it was a prohibition. And so that’s on me.”
As of Friday, the Mayor has yet to respond to any further questions about the incident.
Lawmakers gathering against guidelines may hurt them in upcoming elections
“A lot of Californian’s are sick of hearing about these things happening,” explained Rhea Powers, a Los Angeles-based publicist who specializes in lawmakers, in an interview with the Globe. “They are trying to claim otherwise, but it really does honestly affect people what people in power do in staying within the rules as everyone else. It can be Barack Obama skipping a line at a restaurant, or President Trump refusing to wear a mask in many situations, or right here with Governor Newsom, Mayor Liccardo, and others going against guidelines which they themselves influenced and said that others should follow. At worst, they are liars. At the very least, they are hypocrites.
“Saying that you didn’t know about the guidelines is almost as bad, because then you look ill-informed. That message was broadcast to Californians, and while it’s not certain, it looks from his tweets that he might have been aware of it. We don’t know in this case, but if he did or didn’t, either way it looks bad for him.
“Every politician this happened with, next election this will be a big thing. Ignoring guidelines like that.
“And, as crazy as it sounds, it looks like the GOP will benefit from this. I’m a publicist, and I would say to capitalize on this now. Because most of the violators in the last few weeks have been Democrats. Then you look at the Republicans. When the California Senate had to quarantine most Republicans earlier this year, they didn’t try to barge back in and say they didn’t know. They did it. They followed the rules even though they were very much against it. Many prominent Democrats on the other hand haven’t been following what they’ve been preaching.
“They may be apologizing, but they aren’t going to be sorry until their next campaign.”