The fallout from Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s maskless attendance at an indoor wedding reception continues today. Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler is giving Bowser four Pinocchios for her “partisan-laced spin and innuendo about ‘disinformation,’ [and] making false accusations about the reporter who exposed her actions.”
Four Pinocchios—the most one can receive on the Post‘s scale—go beyond “significant omissions and/or exaggerations,” or “significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.” The Post defines that level of obfuscation only as “Whoppers.”
Some context for the decree: On Thursday, July 29, Bowser announced an executive order requiring everyone to wear masks inside grocery stores, gyms, offices, libraries, common areas of apartment buildings, indoor venues, restaurants, and bars. The order went into effect Saturday, July 31, at 5 a.m. The maximum penalty for violating the order is a $1,000 fine.
A Washington Examiner commentary writer spotted Bowser officiating a wedding at the LINE Hotel hours after her mask mandate went into effect. The wedding ceremony took place outside, but then the mayor and the couple’s guests headed inside for the reception. Photos and video from commentator Tiana Lowe show Bowser sitting at a table without a mask while not “actively eating or drinking,” as her rules require. At least one person at her table is wearing a mask.
When asked during a press conference Tuesday about Lowe’s report, Bowser attempted to brush it off as a “gotcha” from “right-wing wing nuts.”
“We all know what the rules says about sitting at a dining table and dining,” Bowser said. “Don’t be ridiculous. What’s the next question?”
But the absurdity, Kessler notes, actually came from Bowser, who “subtly rewrote her own rules.”
The rules she’s imposing on D.C., supported by guidance from the CDC, say masks are required unless a person is “actively eating or drinking,” not “sitting at a dining table and dining.”
Kessler also scolds Bowser for her false claim that Lowe has opposed vaccinations. “As we noted, Lowe is a strong advocate of vaccination,” Kessler writes. “Bowser’s staff needs to do better homework on her critics.”
Bowser also posed maskless for photographs Friday night, after she’d announced the mandate but before it went into effect. Her chief of staff, John Falcicchio, tweeted a photo of the two of them with Dave Chapelle, who played the Anthem that evening.
Falcicchio did not respond to Loose Lips’s messages asking where the photo was taken. Either way, it’s not a good look for the rule maker to even appear to flout her own rules hours before they go into effect or hours after.
“This is an embarrassing moment for the mayor,” Kessler writes.