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The mayor of Denver apologized for traveling to Mississippi after asking his whole city to stay home for Thanksgiving

Business Insider logo Business Insider 11/26/2020 sbaker@businessinsider.com (Sinéad Baker)
Michael Hancock wearing a suit and tie: Mayor Michael Hancock of Denver in Washington, DC, in May 2017. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Mayor Michael Hancock of Denver in Washington, DC, in May 2017. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Denver's mayor apologized for traveling to Mississippi for Thanksgiving despite asking people to avoid travel to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Mayor Michael Hancock flew on the same day that he encouraged "virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners" and said to "avoid travel, if you can."
  • He later said: "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."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The mayor of Denver apologized for traveling to Mississippi for Thanksgiving after asking his city's residents to stay at home for the holiday.

"I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel," Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat, tweeted Wednesday.

He said he decided to travel to see his wife and his daughter in Mississippi on the grounds that "it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver."

He continued: "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."

Hancock had tweeted on the same day that people should avoid traveling for Thanksgiving.

His tweet said "Stay home as much as you can, especially if you're sick," "Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners," and "Avoid travel, if you can."

A representative for Hancock told The Denver Channel that "Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine."

It also reported that Hancock said in a November 20 press conference that people should avoid meeting up with family members for Thanksgiving and implied he would do the same.

"So please, I urge everyone: Maybe get a small turkey this year and celebrate with just the host you live with," he said.

"And after the meal, as we're going to do, Zoom with your extended family — all your friends, everyone that you meet, and tell them that you look forward to seeing them real soon, and that maybe next year, maybe next year, we can all be together again."

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last Thursday that Americans not travel for Thanksgiving. Millions of Americans traveled anyway.

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