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Analysis: California's Democratic politicians can't seem to follow their own coronavirus advice

CNN logo CNN 12/2/2020 Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
a woman standing in front of a building: SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 12: San Francisco mayor London Breed speaks to reporters after meeting with first responders during an emergency preparedness meeting on July 12, 2018 in San Francisco, California. A day after she was sworn in as the first black woman to be elected mayor of San Francisco, London Breed met with first responders to discuss emergency preparedness in San Francisco. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 12: San Francisco mayor London Breed speaks to reporters after meeting with first responders during an emergency preparedness meeting on July 12, 2018 in San Francisco, California. A day after she was sworn in as the first black woman to be elected mayor of San Francisco, London Breed met with first responders to discuss emergency preparedness in San Francisco. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California is in the midst of a major coronavirus surge.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the state has averaged more than 14,000 cases a day for the last week, a 55.6% increase. Hospitalizations are at a record high, up 100% from just 14 day ago.

"Red flags are flying," California Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters earlier this week, warning that the state -- or at least portions of it -- could be under a stay-at-home order as soon as this week.

All of which makes this headline, published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday night, all the more alarming: "SF Mayor London Breed had her own French Laundry party -- the night after Gavin Newsom's."

What happened is this: Breed attended a party at the French Laundry, Thomas Keller's world-renowned restaurant in California's Napa Valley on November 7. The dinner, which was to celebrate socialite Gorretti Lo Lui's birthday, was held in a partially enclosed outdoor space.

That celebration came just one day after Newsom and his wife had attended a dinner at the restaurant -- a 50th birthday party for political consultant and lobbyist Jason Kinney. They were two of a dozen people at the event, which was held at an outdoor table in the courtyard of the restaurant. Photos obtained by Fox 11 in Los Angeles showed Newsom sitting closely packed with other guests -- and none wearing a mask.

Newsom apologized when news of the dinner came to light. "I made a bad mistake," Newsom said 10 days after the dinner. "I should have stood up and ... drove back to my house. The spirit of what I'm preaching all the time was contradicted. I need to preach and practice, not just preach."

Yup!

The same, of course, holds for Breed, who is widely regarded as one of the biggest rising Democratic stars in the state. While she didn't violate the specific Covid protocols governing the area in which the French Laundry is located, it doesn't look good -- AT ALL -- when Breed, three days after she dined at the restaurant, announced that indoor dining would be prohibited amid rising cases and positive tests in the city.

"We are seeing an uptick," Breed said of the decision. "It has forced our city to make some very hard decisions."

The problem, of course, is that Breed herself didn't appear to be making those "very hard decisions" in her own life. Which, well, hypocrisy alert!

Newsom and Breed aren't the only California Democrats who seem to be in "do as I say, not as I do" mode when it comes to the coronavirus.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl voted to ban outdoor dining at the more than 30,000 restaurants last week but was spotted -- just hours later! -- dining outside at a restaurant in Santa Monica. "She did dine al fresco at Il Forno on the very last day it was permissible," a spokesman for Kuehl told a Los Angeles local TV station. "She loves Il Forno, has been saddened to see it, like so many restaurants, suffer from a decline in revenue. She ate there, taking appropriate precautions, and sadly will not dine there again until our Public Health Orders permit."

Uh huh.

Then there's the case of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. On November 25, Liccardo tweeted this: "Cases are spiking, in part because we're letting our guard (and masks) down with family & friends. Let's cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe."

Good advice! Which he did not follow! His office confirmed that he traveled to his parents' home for Thanksgiving where eight people from five different households attended. "I understand that the state regulations, issued on November 13th, limit the number of households at a private gathering to three," Liccardo said in a written apology issued Tuesday. "I apologize for my decision to gather contrary to state rules, by attending this Thanksgiving meal with my family."

Taken together, the bevy of Democratic politicians willing to bend or even break the rules they are asking their constituents to heed in hopes of mitigating the spread of Covid-19 is an avalanche of hypocrisy. And it is a very bad look.

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