California governor faces backlash over attending dinner party

Gov.Gavin Newsom

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

California Gov. Gavin Newsom allegedly broke one of his own coronavirus guidelines by attending a posh dinner party held in celebration of the 50th birthday of a lobbyist who is one of his advisers. [SF Chronicle]

On Oct. 9, the state Department of Public Health issued guidelines allowing small private gatherings. The guidelines limit gatherings to a maximum of three households, and they must be held outside. 

Then on Nov. 6, Newsom attended the dinner party of Jason Kinney, a longtime friend and adviser to the governor, who is also a partner at the lobbying firm Axiom Advisors. The party was held at French Laundry, a pricey restaurant in Napa County. 

At least 12 people attended the dinner party. The governor attended along with his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

Earlier this week, Newsom cited private gatherings that bring together multiple households and involve people taking off theirs masks as a driving factor of the increase in new coronavirus cases in California. 

After facing backlash for attending Kinney’s dinner party, Newsom acknowledged he should not have gone to the event.

“While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner,” Newsom said in a statement. 

Nathan Click, communications director for Newsom, said the governor and his wife paid for their own meals at the party. Initially, Click defended Newsom’s attendance at the event by arguing restaurants are only required to limit the number of patrons at a single table.

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