If you were to very publicly ridicule someone for attending a maskless gathering during a pandemic, you would probably have a glance at your diary to see if you were imminently scheduled to make that exact same mistake. However, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) appears to have overlooked that crucial step.
On Thursday, McCarthy admitted attending his son’s largely maskless wedding during a coronavirus surge in California on Dec. 5—the same day he jabbed Gov. Gavin Newsom for attending his own maskless party.
The top California Republican owned up to attending the gathering after he was asked about it by the Los Angeles Times. Under the state’s coronavirus pandemic measures, wedding receptions are banned and wedding ceremonies, while allowed, require masks be worn at all times. Both rules appear to have been ignored at Connor McCarthy’s wedding.
According to the Times, videos of the wedding show that guests, including the Republican congressman, were not wearing masks at several points during the day. At one point, he can reportedly be seen addressing guests using a microphone. A dinner was held after the wedding that appears to flout the state rule banning wedding receptions or celebrations.
There would perhaps be more sympathy for McCarthy’s decisions if he hadn’t spent months repeatedly taking shots at Democratic politicians who have been criticized for flouting COVID-19 health advice. Last year, he ridiculed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she was captured in security footage without a mask while at a San Francisco salon, claiming that the footage proved Pelosi “thinks she deserves special treatment.”
Newsom, who apologized for attending a multi-household party for a lobbyist at the chi-chi French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, became one of McCarthy’s targets on the morning of the day the Republican went to his son’s wedding. In his Dec. 5 Facebook post, McCarthy hit out at House Democrats for allowing remote voting during the pandemic, saying: “Maybe if we renamed Congress ‘The French Laundry,’ Democrats would show up.”
California Republicans have fanned outrage over Newsom’s attendance at the event and overall handling of the pandemic to push for a recall election for the Democrat. On Wednesday, California topped New York as the U.S. state with the most deaths from coronavirus, with more than 45,000 people killed by the highly contagious disease.
After being asked about the wedding by the Times, McCarthy sent a furious and very long 600-word statement to the newspaper accusing it of scraping the “bottom of the barrel” with its reporting, and he complained that he’s only being targeted because he’s a Republican. He also said the wedding was originally going to have 300 guests.
McCarthy wrote: “We took every precaution to ensure a safe celebration— starting with just 13 family members. We spent the majority of the time outside with the dinner following the ceremony in an almost completely open area. We wore masks indoors that day, except in those instances where some had to let makeup dry or when we were eating.”
The congressman went on: “This isn’t the first time the L.A. Times has targeted my family and it likely won’t be the last. But I won’t let the L.A. Times intimidate me, my family, or any Californian who works hard and lives their life as they think is best.”
The wedding took place on the same day a mega-surge in California’s coronavirus cases forced state officials to announce a new and urgent stay-at-home order for the southern half of the state. The measures went into effect on the evening after the McCarthy wedding.