Over the past week, we have mentioned a couple times that California governor Gavin Newsom violated his own COVID-19 guidelines to attend a birthday dinner for a lobbyist at French Laundry, a swanky $350-a-plate restaurant in the Bay Area. There were a dozen people at the dinner, from several different households, and they dined indoors.
Helaine Olen wrote a column in the Washington Post criticizing Governor Newsom and New York governor Andrew Cuomo for the “contempt” they have shown their constituents in acting like they have all the answers. In the column, Governor Newsom was compared to Marie Antoinette (the queen of France who infamously said of peasants starving for bread to let them eat cake, and was beheaded in the French Revolution):
“The California governor didn’t fall from his throne this week over a matter as pedestrian as cheesecake, but over a haute cuisine meal he shared with 12 people — indoors no less — at the Michelin-starred restaurant French Laundry in the Napa Valley. Yes, the same Newsom whose office recently asked people to put on their mask “between bites” if dining out with family members at a restaurant.
“Pandemic fatigue is a thing, tempers are short all over, and no one likes scolds or hypocrites — especially when it occurs at a Marie Antoinette level of obliviousness — but that’s hardly the only problem here. Americans are at a breaking point, and instead of rising to the occasion, Cuomo and Newsom demonstrated contempt for the people they are responsible for governing.”
Olen concluded the column: “This Thanksgiving, Cuomo and Newsom should dine on some humble pie and admit that even they don’t have all the answers.”
To say that Governor Newsom can’t come back from the dinner gaffe would be hyperbole. This is America and powerful figures ebb and flow and reinvent themselves. But it’s going to take awhile for the image of the governor dining indoors at a swanky restaurant, as many families in his state struggle to put food on the table due in part to his regulations that have closed their workplaces, to fade.
It’s been a rough week for Governor Newsom, as he has been castigated for his hypocrisy. If you’re looking for more content on the matter, here is video of U.S. Representative Tom McClintock subversively defended the French Laundry visit because it represented the freedom of personal choice: