The quasi-conspiratorial, cynical side of me wonders if Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is trying to do a solid for California Governor Gavin Newsom, as he faces a tightening recall election this fall. Until the last few days, despite stiff competition, Newsom has been the most high-profile poster child for governmental hypocrisy and arrogance during the pandemic. His lavish French Laundry excursion made national news, and now his family is once again garnering attention on the 'rules for thee' front. Newsom has attempted to deflect from the latest episode, mustering faux indignation to accuse his critics of attacking his family, as opposed to his judgment and double standards. As he flails, in stomps Bowser, with a thunderous "hold my beer."
We already ran through the reasons why the mayor's reimposed mask mandate, including for vaccinated people, is preposterous and unsupported by data. DC's vaccination rates are high, while COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are extremely low. When the controversial order was announced last week, its implementation was delayed by a few days. Within hours, critics started to wonder if Bowser had set the deadline in order to facilitate a few items on her own social calendar, including her own birthday party. She decreed that masks must again be worn indoors, regardless of vaccinated status -- and are even officially recommended for many vaccinated people in crowded outdoors settings -- starting on Saturday, supposedly due to "science." But not just yet. These were scenes from Friday night:
Photos appear to show DC mayor celebrating birthday maskless hours before mandate went into effect https://t.co/vdDwDQX5sM— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) July 31, 2021
Evidently, the mayor wanted to hang out with comedian Dave Chapelle and celebrate her birthday with a large group of friends, so she did both. Maskless. Perhaps the Delta variant was going to arrive in DC and start turning people into COVID pumpkins right at midnight. Very sciency. But sweeping aside the glaringly capricious and silly mandate timeline, Bowser defenders might at least strain to argue that she was technically operating within the letter of her own dictated law. Embarrassing, of course, but at least factually true. Then, and Landon noted yesterday, came Saturday night -- after the mandate was in effect. Hoo boy:
When encountered by the Washington Examiner, Mayor Bowser confirmed that she officiated the maskless, indoor wedding, but when asked why she was violating her own mask mandate, her security retinue quickly escorted her away. https://t.co/hY0Ji2zqnj pic.twitter.com/xozhIupSin— Tiana Lowe (@TianaTheFirst) August 1, 2021
Fewer than 24 hours after Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated her 49th birthday with a DJ and comedian Dave Chappelle, she officiated a wedding at The Line DC, a four-star hotel in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of the city. Despite the mayor's order, the wedding reception featured hundreds of unmasked guests served by dozens of wait staff, including a conspicuously unmasked Bowser. Bowser, who was not sitting at the table designated for her during wedding toasts, did not wear a mask despite not actively eating or drinking. When approached by the Washington Examiner to explain why she was maskless at an event now legally obligated to enforce mask compliance, security blockaded the free press.
Slow clap. Did she...not think anyone would take photos? At a wedding? Under these circumstances? Especially after Bowser infamously imposed previous rules barring dancing at DC weddings? There was approximately a 100 percent chance this would become public. Maybe Bowser isn't terribly bright, or is generally clueless. Or (more likely in my view) she's unfathomably imperious and hubristic. She sets the rules, but she doesn't feel overly compelled to abide by them, and she doesn't really care if anyone finds out. She's a Democratic mayor in a city in which GOP presidential nominees generally pull between four and seven percent of the total vote. She's in charge and she's untouchable. The truth is that whatever is, or is not, going through her head, this point is basically inarguable:
Anyway, what Muriel Bowser did reflects the facts on the ground: A mask mandate is not warranted by current conditions, because we have the vaccine, and if people want to have a wedding they should proceed as normal with it. Now she should just make that public policy!— Josh Barro (@jbarro) August 1, 2021
She very clearly doesn't believe that her mandate is warranted, yet she instituted it upon the Little People anyway, because she can. And she instantly ignored it as she personally saw fit, because she can. On that note, I'll leave you with this fun bit of optics from a woman who is running around calling critics of her own mask mandate "morons," while making very special exceptions for herself -- based on, well, nothing:
Disregarding rules that govern mere plebeians is, shall we say, not out of character for Queen Nancy.