I wrote about it a few days ago but reading about it and seeing it with your own eyes are two different things. Imagine how thick the bubble of impunity that this tool operates in must be that he was willing to attend this gathering not just in a public place but in full view of other guests. He wasn’t sneakily breaking the rules against gatherings of people from more than three households by slipping in the back door of a friend’s home. He was flouting them, out in the open, at a well-known restaurant in a room visible to others.
This story reminds me of Trump’s disinformation campaign about the election in that they’re both newsworthy and must be covered even though lots of people will draw pernicious lessons from them. Amplifying Trump’s claims, even to debunk them, helps spread them to those who are motivated by extreme partisanship to believe everything he says. Amplifying Newsom’s rulebreaking helps spread it to those who’ll conclude that it’s “only fair” that they get to break the rules and spread COVID too. But news is news is news.
Terrible leadership: An American tradition as familiar as Thanksgiving itself.
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
The person who snapped the pics spoke to Fox LA and provided a noteworthy detail:
“While we were there we realized there was a very loud party going on in a room 20 feet from us. It was a bit annoying since you’re spending hard-earned money to go there.”
She said, “It got louder and louder and so they had some sliding glass doors that they were able to close, so then it was a closed-off room but you could still hear them with how loud they were.”
“I just happened to look over and realize hey is that Gavin Newsom, who is that? And I did ask one of the waitresses and she confirmed it was, so I was able to take a couple of photos, I was able to document this especially since nobody was wearing a mask. It was a very large group of people shoulder to shoulder, something that he’s always telling us not to do so yeah it was a bit annoying for sure”, the woman said.
The one mitigating factor in Newsom’s rulebreaking was that, supposedly, his dinner party had dined outdoors under the stars. Not true, it turns out. They were in an enclosed space which opens to the outdoors via sliding doors on one wall. But those doors were closed.
Here's the Town & Country photo that Gavin Newsom's team is apparently referring to alongside the photo of Newsom's party.
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) November 18, 2020
Indoor dining at a restaurant in a large group is basically the worst-case scenario for COVID spread, according to the CDC. Team Newsom insists that it *technically* wasn’t breaking any rules because the state ban on gatherings by more than three households doesn’t apply to eateries. But … why doesn’t it? The fact that Newsom was arguably within the bounds of his own guidance doesn’t mean he behaved appropriately. It means his guidance is stupid.
Speaking of terrible leadership, this tweet also caught my eye last night:
– Pfizer vaccine 90% effective
– Moderna vaccine 94.5% effective – Naturally acquired COVID-19 99.9982% percent effective*
* (estimating 200 reinfections out of 11 million Americans, which is likely an overestimation of actual reinfections)
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) November 17, 2020
Paul is a medical doctor. He must grasp that the difference between naturally acquired immunity and vaccine-acquired immunity is a death toll of hundreds of thousands of people (and long-term debilitation for some survivors) on the one hand and a death toll on the other of … zero. So what’s he talking about? He’s not dumb, so it must be that his spite for experts like Fauci has deteriorated to a point of pure nihilism, where he’s trying to sell his constituents on the idea that natural immunity is somehow “better” than the kind provided by a vaccine. Make sure to spread some of those old-fashioned immunity-producing germs to grandma and grandpa on Thanksgiving, I guess.
Here’s Newsom, almost giggling his way through an apology for his decision to attend the dinner at the restaurant. At least he’s pretending to be sorry. Sort of.
Gov. Gavin Newsom apologizes for attending party at French Laundry: "We're all human. We all fall short sometimes." pic.twitter.com/GPegzxt0dl
— The Hill (@thehill) November 17, 2020
Update: There’s probably a way this incident could be more embarrassing for Newsom and more damaging to the cause of getting people to take COVID seriously, but I can’t think of one offhand.
California Medical Association officials were among the guests seated next to Gov. Gavin Newsom at a top California political operative’s opulent birthday dinner at the French Laundry restaurant this month.
CEO Dustin Corcoran and top CMA lobbyist Janus Norman both joined the dinner at the French Laundry, an elite Napa fine dining restaurant, to celebrate the 50th birthday of lobbyist and longtime Newsom adviser Jason Kinney, a representative of the powerful interest group confirmed Wednesday morning…
Doctors and other health care workers have been vigilant since the pandemic began in asking Califorians to stay at home — a call that has ramped up in recent weeks as hospitals across the nation fill to capacity.