Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is taking COVID-19 seriously. He sent out the following tweet at 7:43am yesterday:
Pass the potatoes, not COVID.
🏘️Stay home as much as you can, especially if you’re sick.
💻Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners.
❌Avoid travel, if you can.
🍲Order your holiday meal from a local eatery.
🎁Shop online with a small business for #BlackFriday. pic.twitter.com/acQpWs2Ism
— Michael B. Hancock 😷 (@MayorHancock) November 25, 2020
It urged residents of Denver to stay home, host virtual gatherings, and avoid travel. He went even further when speaking to city staff, urging them “to refrain from travel this Thanksgiving holiday” and pledging that he was “cancelling our traditional gathering of our extended family.”
Small problem for Mayor Hancock: he sent this tweet onboard United flight 1864, traveling from Denver to Houston. Yes, just 16 minutes after the tweet, he departed for Houston, then later connected to Mississippi.
What could have prompted this trip? A family emergency? Vital work for the city?
Nope…just Thanksgiving dinner with his daughter.
Here’s how he defended his action:
“I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. I have shared how my family cancelled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration. What I did not share, but should have, is that my wife and my daughter have been in Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job. As the holiday approached, I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver.
“I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone. As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others, I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel. I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head.”
It’s a non-apology. He’s defending his action and sorry if you are offended.
Now you could try to argue that lip service is better than full disregard from bloated dotards, but I’m not trying to make this a political issue.
Instead, I just want to recognize that placed in every human heart is a deep longing for fellowship, community, and family. What else would drive such hypocrisy but such a strong desire?
The mayor thinks his travel is essential. It’s no wonder millions of Americans are ignoring government pleas not to travel this holiday.
I’m not going to condemn the mayor for flying to Mississippi for Thanksgiving, just like I will not condemn the California Governor for dining at French Laundry or members of the California legislature traveling to Hawaii while urging residents to stay home.
I am staying home today…my annual Carmel trip was canceled and we’re not planning any sort of extended trip this weekend. But I’m not going to urge you to stay home too. Do understand the virus is real. Take precautions. Be careful. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. But I’ll stop well short of demanding you stay home, especially when our elected leaders demonstrate the necessity of the human bond.
(H/T: View from the Wing // image: Raimond Spekking / Wikimedia Commons (with the mayor superimposed))