Nancy Pelosi canceled a dinner for the new Democratic members of Congress after photos of the event went viral and sparked anger over political leaders openly flouting COVID restrictions.
Pelosi, 80, described the coronavirus pandemic on Friday as “an emergency of the greatest magnitude.”
Friday, more than 172,000 cases were confirmed, and Thursday more than 160,000: before November, the country had never added 100,000 or more cases in a day.
In the Midwest and West, infection rates are rising dramatically, and from Chicago to Washington DC to New York, Americans are urged to cancel Thanksgiving plans and stay home with as few people as possible. .
NBC News correspondent Leigh Ann Caldwell reported on Friday that House Democratic and Republican leaders were hosting dinners for new members and posted a photo of a lavish dining room being prepared on the Capitol.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, initially said dinner was safe
“@ SpeakerPelosi told me it was safe,” she tweeted.
“It’s very spaced,” she said and there’s improved ventilation and the Capitol doctor signed.
Yet the planned dinner angered many prominent Democratic supporters, upset that their message to abide by CDC guidelines – unlike many Republicans – was undermined.
Chelsea Clinton tweeted: “Please cancel these dinners in person, @SpeakerPelosi & @kevinomccarthy to protect everyone from # covid19 – yourself, your new members, your servers, the Capitol Police and all their families and contacts. And show leadership in public health. “
“Imagine telling families not to celebrate Thanksgiving (we shouldn’t) and then doing that. Come. Yes, said Nikole Hannah Jones, reporter for New York Times Magazine.
Chris Hayes, MSNBC presenter, tweeted, “Cancel your precious dinner, fools. my God.’
Pelosi’s office initially defended dinner.
“Our office is strictly following the Attending Physician’s Office guidelines, including for this dinner,” said Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff.
“To be an additional model for the nation, this event has been modified to allow elected members to take their meals to go socially distanced. “
Ninety minutes later he tweeted: “The elected members are now eating their boxed meals and leaving the Capitol. There is no group dinner. The elected members are already in DC to orient themselves.
It was not clear whether the Republican event had taken place.