Pelosi to Host Large Dinner for New House Members as Democrats Urge Americans To Stay Home and Not Host Family Gatherings Due to Coronavirus

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is hosting a large dinner at the Capitol Building for new members Friday night, a move seen as hypocritical as Americans are being warned by government officials (and House Democrats!) to stay home and not hold family gatherings over the holidays because of concerns about spreading the COVID-19 China coronavirus. The Republicans are holding their own dinner for new members, but the GOP has generally been the party that urges caution but respects the rights of Americans to decide for themselves on dealing with the virus in social situations.

(UPDATE at end. Pelosi dinner has been modified with a “to-go” option.)

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NBC News reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell posted a photo of the set up for the dinner to accompany her report on comments by Pelosi, “House Dem and GOP leaders are holding respective dinners for new members. @SpeakerPelosi told me it’s safe. “It’s very spaced,” she said and there is enhanced ventilation and the Capitol physician signed off.”

Incredibly, as even as their large dinner was being set up in the Capitol, House Democrats sent out this message urging to Americans to stay home, “We are in this together. Protect yourself and loved ones. Continue to #StayAtHome, practice social distancing and #WearAMask.”

Reaction has not been kind from people sympathetic to Pelosi.

CNN Republican commentator Doug Heye, “Every time I’ve agreed with Democrats criticizing Trump and other Rs for irresponsible action and rhetoric around Covid, I didn’t think Nancy Pelosi would hold a potential super spreader dinner in the Capitol.”

The Washington Post’s Cathleen Decker, “This, and similar events like Gov. Newsom’s French Laundry visit, feed a do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do dynamic that can only breed resentment.”

MSNBC’s Chris Hates is aghast, “cancel your precious dinner, you maniacs. my god.”

Liberal activist Chris Geidner, “In addition to being a really bad idea, this is also horrible optics AND totally unnecessary…I spend half of my therapy sessions talking about how to best handle finding face-to-face time with people responsibly while living alone in this era, and Pelosi is out here planning indoor dinner parties.”

Meanwhile the mayor of Pelosi’s home district San Francisco urged residents to make hard choices, “COVID-fatigue is real. We all feel it. But we can’t get complacent. We are seeing COVID spread across the country, & the rate of new cases in San Francisco is increasing. Do your part. The hard choices we make now will help make things better for us in the future.”

UPDATE: Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill posted an update, “Our office strictly follows the guidance of the Office of Attending Physician, including for this dinner. To be a further model for the nation, this event has been modified to allow Members-elect to pick up their meals to go in a socially-distanced manner.”

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