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Boris Johnson has resigned from office after a dramatic couple of days in Westminster. Johnson’s fall from grace was largely affected by the “Partygate” scandal, the revelations that the PM breached his own COVID protocols by hosting parties in 10 Downing Street. This fact might surprise millions of people in the U.S., as U.S. politicians have made breaching their own COVID rules into the new national pastime, with basically no political repercussions whatsoever.
The British parliament grilled Johnson over a birthday cake he ate in June 2020. In America, however, the hypocrisy of Democratic politicians defending strict COVID restrictions while flouting them in private became so common that The Heritage Foundation made an interactive portal visualizing some of the most high-profile incidents. Of course, out of the dozens of lawmakers, governors, and mayors that violated their COVID rules, none resigned in disgrace.
Since the number of incidents is simply too large to read, we will have a brief look at the most noticeable times that American politicians blatantly broke their COVID rules, and got away with it.
Gavin Newsom’s infamous French dinner party
Arguably one of the most infamous cases of COVID hypocrisy was that of the California Governor’s expensive party at the French Laundry in November 2020. Newsom was caught attending an expensive farewell party for a top political adviser. This occurred at the same time that Newsom’s administration was advising everybody to not gather indoors for the holidays.
The photos showed the governor maskless and in proximity to many advisers and friends. Newsom would order an extensive COVID lockdown just a few weeks after the scandal broke.
Newsom was one of the few politicians that got some political repercussions from his breach of the rules, as the event was a catalyzer for the 2021 recall referendum campaign. However, the crisis really did not end his career, as Newsom easily won the referendum and is now reportedly eyeing the Democratic nomination in 2024.
Pelosi gets a hair makeover while it was prohibited, blames the owner
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was caught in September 2020 going to a beauty salon in San Francisco to get a hair makeover. The only detail is, hair salons were closed during that time in the golden state due to COVID regulations.
Pelosi not only did not apologize, but she also blamed the owner of the hair salon and said that she was set up by political rivals. Suffice to say, Pelosi went on to win reelection for her congressional seat in 2020 and she is currently sitting third in the line of presidential succession. Pelosi also swore in a new congressman without a mask, even after she implemented a mask mandate inside Capitol grounds.
Mayor Bowser breaks her own mask mandate, several times
The Mayor of Washington D.C. has made breaking her mask mandate a tradition during her time in office. It has been reported that Bowser has broken her COVID regulations at least five times since the pandemic started.
In June 2020, Bowser attended a protest over the killing of George Floyd, unmasked, and gave a speech while gatherings of more than 10 people were prohibited in the capital of the country. Bowser also traveled to Delaware to go to Biden’s election party, despite Delaware being considered a high-risk state and Bowser discouraging non-essential travels. Bowser also went to a Chappelle show, a birthday party (not her own like Boris’), and a wedding party while flouting her mask mandate.
Mayor Muriel Bowser won the Democratic nomination for the mayor of the District of Columbia by 9 points and is poised to easily win re-election later this year.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed parties maskless, twice.
While parties in 10 Downing Street were the headache of Boris Johnson, partying in nightclubs while violating COVID regulations is a common thing for the Mayor of San Francisco London Breed.
Breed was caught in September 2021 maskless and in a room full of people during a performance by R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné!, in clear violation of the city’s indoor masking regulations. When asked about the issue, Breed criticized the press for asking over the COVID breach instead of the “historic” concert. Breed partied maskless again in November of the same year, and she quickly brushed off the criticisms saying that she was having a “great time” and that she followed protocols.
These are not all the examples of American politicians breaching their own regulations or favoring COVID policies, yet as previously said, the list is endless.
Senator Chuck Schumer dances merengue maskless
The top Democrat in the Senate, Senator Chuck Schumer from New York, also joins the illustrious list of Democratic COVID breachers, as he was caught dancing merengue at the annual SOMOS conference in Puerto Rico. Schumer was accompanied by a room full of Democratic politicians who also had maskless fun despite the island’s strict regulations mandating indoor masking.
Schumer’s breaking of the rules did not bring any political repercussions, as he has continued to lead the Democrat’s efforts in the Senate and won the nomination of his party to face Joe Pinion this fall for reelection.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer travels to Florida and goes to bars, breaks COVID regulations
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer was criticized after she was caught eating and drinking with a group of friends at a crowded bar while using no masks. Whitmer had also been under fire due to the private jets she took to visit her father in Florida at a time when her own government was advising people not to travel due to fears of COVID.
While Whitmer was fully vaccinated when she was in the restaurant, the state’s regulations at the time still mandated that restaurants keep social distancing for their customers and that tables had less than six people in them. Despite the COVID rule breaches, Whitmer is currently the only Democratic candidate for the nomination and will face a Republican later this year for her reelection.
Biden urges to use masks but dines without them
Finally, President Biden himself has also been caught breaking the COVID rules of the District of Columbia when he went dining with Jill Biden at an upscale restaurant in Georgetown maskless. Biden was inside the restaurant without any face-covering in direct contradiction to the guideline that fellow COVID rule breaker Mayor Muriel Bowser had issued for the city. Suffice to say, Biden has not been deposed because of these breaches.
As Boris Johnson becomes a casualty of the “Partygate” scandal, one curious comparison between the UK and the U.S. surfaces. While British Tories oust a PM with the largest majority in decades because he ate a cake in quarantine, American Democrats re-elect them.
Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.