Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF
- Several Democratic governors who have recommended or enforced restrictions regarding travel in their own states spurned their own COVID-19 rules and traveled to President Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday.
- Governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, and Phil Murphy of New Jersey attended Biden’s inauguration despite their own coronavirus guidelines.
- President Joe Biden also appeared maskless on federal property Wednesday shortly after signing an executive order mandating that masks be worn.
Several Democratic governors who have restricted travel in their own states spurned their own COVID-19 restrictions and traveled to President Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday.
The Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday that Democratic governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, and Phil Murphy of New Jersey attended Biden’s inauguration despite their own strict coronavirus guidelines.
Other prominent Democratic governors like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo chose not to attend the inauguration. Cuomo cited security concerns due to reported threats to state capitols, saying, “I think my place is to stay in New York State given this possible circumstance.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation also examined whether Republican governors flouted their own COVID-19 restrictions to travel to the inauguration, but the Republican governors who attended the inauguration have not inflicted travel restrictions in their states.
Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducy and Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, for example, attended the inauguration. Arizona and South Dakota do not currently have travel restrictions.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) January 20, 2021
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently issued a “gatherings and face mask order” requiring Michigan residents to limit their gatherings to 25 or fewer people.
Despite this order, Whitmer attended the inauguration attended by about 2,0000 people, according to an estimate from the Washington Post. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.
— Gretchen Whitmer (@gretchenwhitmer) January 20, 2021
“Anyone who watched would have seen that we were spaced out, we were outside, and we were masked up,” Whitmer said Wednesday evening, the Free Beacon reported. “I have been following the same directives I’ve asked everyone else to. I can’t stand those people that have one rule for others and a different one for themselves.”
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration strongly urged Pennsylvania residents during the holidays to avoid leaving their houses. Pennsylvania’s current COVID response also reminds residents that “unnecessary travel should be limited” and requires those entering the state to have a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for 10 days.
“All Pennsylvanians, in order to stay safe, should stay home,” Wolf said in late November. “I know that this year has been hard, it’s been frustrating. We all just want to celebrate something after all the hardships and the fatigue and the sorrow of this year.”
“Right now all of us need to be vigilant about taking safety precautions and following COVID-19 mitigation measures, and that includes following CDC guidance to stay home and not travel for the holidays.”
Wolf did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF. His office told the Free Beacon that Wolf “is following the travel orders and guidelines in place and was tested within 72 hours prior to his planned return to the commonwealth.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s travel order discourages “all nonessential interstate travel at this time” and suggests that travelers quarantine for seven days after travel if they test negative.
Murphy’s order also limited outdoor gatherings to 25 people or less but exempts “political activities.”
His office told the DCNF that his trip is “classified as essential travel and not subject to the travel advisory, as it is pursuant to his official duties as Governor.”
“The travel advisory also does not apply to individuals traveling to and from the state for work and those whose trip is 24 hours or less,” Deputy Press Secretary Alex Altman told the DCNF.
The governor previously came under fire in June when he said he couldn’t “imagine” telling protestors to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can’t imagine what it would look like if we said to people, ‘Actually, you have to stay in. You have to ignore systemic racism — I’m sorry, just ignore it. Stay in,’” the governor said, according to Politico. “I can’t imagine what that looks like as it relates to public safety.”
In November, Murphy was also confronted by several angry people as he ate outside a restaurant with his family.
President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden, though not a Democratic governor, also flouted his own coronavirus guidance during the inauguration. The newly elected president appeared maskless on federal property shortly after signing an executive order mandating that masks be worn.
“He was celebrating an evening of a historic day in our country and certainly he signed the mask mandate because it’s a way to send a message to the American public about the importance of wearing masks. How it can save tens of thousands of lives,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said of the incident.
She later added, “I think we have bigger issues to worry about at this moment in time.”
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