Now, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is apologizing after making plans to see his family for the holiday just hours after he urged residents not to travel. The city mayor's office confirmed that he’s flying to Mississippi to spend time with his daughter and wife, CNN reports.
“I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone,” Hancock said in a statement. “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.”
Hancock issued his apology on Thursday, a day after he tweeted a message to Denver residents, encouraging them to not travel in order to curb the transmission of COVID-19 during the holiday.
“Stay home as much as you can, especially if you're sick,” he wrote. “Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners,” and “avoid travel, if you can.”
The city also compelled residents to not mix households in a video posted on Twitter.
In a statement to CNN, Hancock’s spokesperson, Mike Strott, said the mayor “will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine” after returning to Denver.
Local politicians in other states have also come under fire for not listening to their own advice. In early November, California Gov. Gavin Newsom faced backlash after attending a birthday party at a restaurant with a dozen others from various households, amid surging COVID cases.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also called off his holiday plans after being denounced for planning to spend the holiday with his 86-year-old mother and two of his daughters as cases continue to climb. Both governors had previously warned against attending large indoor gatherings for the holiday or otherwise.