Denver Mayor Michael Hancock issued a statement of apology for his travel to visit his family just hours after he encouraged residents to avoid travel for Thanksgiving if they can.
Hancock’s spokeswoman confirmed to media outlets that he was flying to Houston on Wednesday to visit his daughter in Mississippi, where his wife is at also.
“I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. I have shared how my family cancelled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration,” Hancock said in a statement on Twitter around 4 p.m.
“What I did not share, but should have, is that my wife and my daughter have been in Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job. As the holiday approached, I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver,” he added.
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.”
On Wednesday morning, Hancock had posted an announcement that recommended Denver residents to avoid travel if they can, and to host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners amid Thanksgiving.
Pass the potatoes, not COVID.
🏘️Stay home as much as you can, especially if you’re sick.
💻Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners.
❌Avoid travel, if you can.
🍲Order your holiday meal from a local eatery.
🎁Shop online with a small business for #BlackFriday. pic.twitter.com/acQpWs2Ism
— Michael B. Hancock 😷 (@MayorHancock) November 25, 2020
According to Denver Public Health, the city and county has seen a seven-day moving average of 549 new cases as of Nov. 25. There have been 33,971 total cases of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus and 494 deaths in Denver since the start of the pandemic.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said on Tuesday that about one in 41 people in the state currently have COVID-19.
“I have not had any conversations with the mayor about his Thanksgiving plans and was not aware of them,” Polis said at a news conference, reported KUSA.
“Not only do I want to set the example as governor, of course, but frankly this is what we do because we love our family,” he added. “My parents are 76, I want them to be here for 20 more years.”
State Rep. Kyle Mullica (D), who is an emergency room nurse, criticised Hancock’s actions.
“Let’s be clear: As elected officials we are leaders in our community,” Mullica said in a Twitter statement. “People look to us for guidance. Perfection is impossible, but as leaders we should always be striving to lead by example. [Mayor Hancock’s] decision impacts all of us trying to do the right thing.”
Let’s be clear. As elected officials we are leaders in our community. People look to us for guidance. Perfection is impossible, but as leaders we should always be striving to lead by example. @MayorHancock decision impacts all of us trying to do the right thing.#copolitics #coleg
— Rep. Kyle Mullica (@Kyle_Mullica) November 25, 2020
Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom attended a party that violated his own COVID-19 rules in the state. The dinner at a restaurant in Napa County was to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday party and had 12 people in attendance.
“While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner,” Newsom said in a statement. He also said that he had “made a bad mistake” and should have left when the dinner was larger than he had expected.