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Newsom Criticized For Attending Birthday Party with Lobbyist in Napa Amid Pandemic


California Governor Gavin Newsom is facing criticism for attending a lobbyist's birthday party at an elegant French restaurant with several people; the same type of gathering he has dissuaded Californians from during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.


Why it matters:

Throughout the pandemic, Governor Newsom has pressed the public to abide by COVID-19 health orders like social distancing and reduce meetups between households to slow the virus's spread.

  • The dinner occurred on Nov. 6 at a Franch Laundry restaurant in Yountville in Napa County, and 12 people attended.

  • The gathering was a birthday party for Jason Kinney, a lobbyist from the political consulting firm AXIOM.

  • This week, California became the second state to surpass one million known covid-19 cases. On Nov. 13, Newsom joined Oregon and Washington state governors, urging out-of-state travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.

What they're saying:

  • In the beginning, the governor's communication director, Nathan Click, defended the governor's attendance at the party, saying Mr. Newsom and Siebel Newsom “followed public health guidelines and the restaurant’s health protocols — all in line with the state’s rules for restaurant operation.” per SF Chronicle.

  • Newsom then issued another statement saying his attendance at the party, “While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner.”

  • Molly Weedan, a spokesperson for Kinney, told the L. A Times, “This was a small, intimate, 12-person dinner held outdoors with family and a few close friends to celebrate a 50th birthday,” and “The restaurant was open for normal dining, consistent with state and county health guidance. All of the restaurant safety protocols were adhered to — and the guests followed those protocols.”


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