The mayor of Denver is under fire after he took a flight to see his family for Thanksgiving — after urging his consituents to avoid traveling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Michael Hancock jetted off to Mississippi to celebrate the holiday with his wife and daughter, News 9 reported Wednesday.
That very morning, Hancock had tweeted, “Pass the potatoes, not COVID,” along with an advisory that urged people to stay home and hold virtual gatherings.
The backlash was swift.
“That is incredibly disappointing,” Dr. Sandy Johnson, head of the University of Denver’s school of global health affairs, told The Denver Post. “So many folks in the city of Denver have been doing the right thing. Unless there is some family emergency compelling the travel, this just seems hypocritical at a time when we need leaders to lead by example.”
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) tweeted, “Hey Siri, what is the definition of hypocrisy?”
“I don’t expect people to be perfect,” State Rep. Kyle Mullica, (D-Northglenn), told The Denver Post. “But I think there is an expectation that you essentially try to practice what you preach.”
A city spokesman told News 9 that Hancock will not be having a traditional large family dinner, but rather a small gather with his wife and daughter so they didn’t have to fly back to Denver.
Denver Mayor Michael HancockAP
“Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine,” the spokesman added.
More than 33,900 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Denver. Medical experts predict at least 2,000 more people will die from the virus by the end of December, according to the Denver Post.
Hancock isn’t the only politician under fire for their holiday plans.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday suggested he may have his 89-year-old mother and his daughters over for Thanksgiving — despite strongly encouraging New Yorkers to stay home for the holidays.
The governor canceled his plans after heavy backlash.