Denver Mayor Traveled To Mississippi For Thanksgiving After Telling Others To Stay Home
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is apologizing to his constituents for not following his own guidance.
Hancock received sharp criticism after boarding a flight to Houston roughly 30 minutes after tweeting a message urging others to "avoid travel" in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
After 9News was tipped off by an anonymous source, Hancock's spokeswoman confirmed his travel to Houston on Wednesday ahead of Thanksgiving despite his messaging for others to "stay close to home" and only spend the holiday with their immediate household.
The Denver mayor explained himself in an apology, claiming that he was traveling by air to join his wife in Mississippi where his daughter just 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.
His trip comes as his city is seeing record levels of COVID-19 cases and officials in Colorado have warned that spikes are threatening to stress their hospital system. Back on Nov. 18, Hancock also sent an email to staff members writing "as the holidays approach, we all long to be with our families with person, but with the continued rise in cases, I’m urging you to refrain from travel this Thanksgiving holiday. For my family that means cancelling our traditional gathering of our extended family.”
The mayor also added that anyone traveling out of state would have to quarantine for 14 days upon their return and those who aren't able to work from home would have to use PTO for the duration of their mandated quarantine. In an email from Denver City Council President Stacie Gilmore encouraging residents to stay home, she made mention of the mayor's travel.
Mayor Michael Hancock made the personal decision to travel for Thanksgiving. I expect the mayor will follow and comply with the directives he issued to all City of Denver employees and quarantine for 14 days upon his return.
A statement from Hancock acknowledged his hypocrisy.
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. 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.
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.
Many who criticized the mayor felt that he only issued an apology because he was called out. Basically, their opinion was that he wasn't sorry for what he did, but rather, he was sorry he got caught.
This follows a pattern of hypocritical leadership in many areas of the country where officials are following a "do as I say, not as I do" method that doesn't sit well with citizens—not only on a personal opinion level but also a statistical data level as many cities with this type of leadership are also seeing COVID-19 numbers soar higher than ever before.
Ultimately, it's up to us as citizens to make the right call; and while there is no such thing as a silver bullet of perfection, now is a time for leaders to lead by example. This was echoed in a tweet from Colorado State Rep. Kyle Mullica.
This is definitely not the first time an elected official has apologized for hypocrisy, and it surely won't be the last. My question to you is: Does it negate the message or the guidance from leadership when they don't follow their own advice? Sound off in the comments and let me know how you feel about it.