California Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing fresh scrutiny for his decision to attend the birthday dinner of a lobbyist earlier this month after photos emerged showing the governor apparently unmasked and in close quarters with a large number of people.
The photos, obtained by Fox 11 Los Angeles and shared on Twitter by reporter Bill Melugin, were circulated widely online on Wednesday.
While Newsom had issued a statement saying he and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom had “followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions,” the photo does not depict any social distancing or other precautions the state has urged.
Newsom apologized for attending the dinner during a press conference on Monday.
“I made a bad mistake,” Newsom said. “The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradictory, and I’ve got to own that, so I’m going to apologize to you.”
Newsom wasn’t the only one to catch heat for attending the dinner on Wednesday.
Politico first reported that two top officials for the California Medical Association, which lobbies on behalf of doctors in the state, also were in attendance at the dinner, including CMA CEO Dustin Corcoran and lobbyist Janus Norman.
The CMA confirmed their attendance in a statement.
“Dustin Corcoran and Janus Norman attended a private 50th birthday dinner for their friend Jason Kinney earlier this month. The dinner was held in accordance with state and county guidelines,” a spokesman for CMA said.
In the photos shared online, no masks are seen, and the diners are in close quarters with no social distancing.