The mayor of Denver has issued a public apology for traveling for thanksgiving after telling local residents to stay at home and not travel as COVID-19 cases surge in the US.
Michael Hancock, 51, came under fire after reports surfaced that he boarded a flight to Houston on Wednesday morning, before heading to Mississippi to visit his wife and daughter for the thanksgiving celebration.
Minutes before his flight, he released a tweet warning people to “Pass the potatoes, not COVID,” and advised them to “Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners” and “Avoid travel, if you can.”
In an email obtained by Fox News, Hancock had advised his staff to forego traveling if possible, telling them if they do travel out of state lines, they will be required to self-isolate for two weeks.
“[A]s the holidays approach, we all long to be with our families [in] person, but with the continued rise in cases, I’m urging you to refrain from travel this Thanksgiving holiday,” Hancock wrote earlier this month. “For my family that means cancelling our traditional gathering of our extended family.”
After receiving backlash for ignoring his own requests, Hancock has now asked the residents of Denver for forgiveness.
“I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone,” Hancock said in a statement on Wednesday night. “
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,” he added.
“I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel,” Hancock said before explaining that both his wife and daughter had moved to Mississippi. “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.”