Photos raise more questions about California Governor Newsom’s controversial dinner


Top line

Governor Gavin Newsom apologized Monday for attending a dinner at the French Laundry restaurant with people from other households – which he said violated “the spirit” of security measures instituted by his office – although new photos and details emerged on Wednesday which cast doubt on the California governor’s claim that the dinner was “out” and his portrayal of the dinner as an informal gathering of friends.


Photos published by Fox 11 Los Angeles– which show Newsom, his wife and 10 other people from 5 different households in a room together – appear to contradict the governor’s claim that the gathering at the French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, Calif., Was “outside.”

Photos show that the chic dinner was located in a room with three closed walls and its fourth wall open to the outside with sliding glass doors, although it is not clear if this counts as an “outside” gathering according to California restaurant guidelines.

Under California’s Covid-19 restrictions, no more than three families are allowed to gather privately, although this limit may be exceeded at a restaurant.

During his press conference on Monday, Newsom described the now infamous dinner as a birthday party for a friend he has known for “almost 20 years,” while failing to mention that friend Jason Kinney, and several others, were prominent lobbyists.

Several senior officials from the California Medical Association – an organization that represents more than 50,000 physicians in the Golden State – were also in attendance at the event, Politics reported Wednesday.

CMA spokesperson Anthony York said Politics: “The dinner was held according to state and county guidelines.”

Forbes has contacted Newsom’s office for comment. A spokesperson referred Forbes to Newsom’s apology on Monday.

Crucial quote

“It was to be an open-air restaurant,” Newsom said at a press conference on Monday. “As soon as I sat down at the larger table, I realized it was a bit bigger group than I had expected. And I made a big mistake: instead of sitting down, I should have got up and gone back down to my car and go home. Instead, I chose to sit there with my wife and a number of other couples who were outside the home. “

Chief critic

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican who is rumored to be considering a race against Newsom in 2022, tweeted: “He can celebrate birthdays. But you can’t. He can dine on a $ 350 meal at one of California’s fanciest restaurants during the worst recession in generations. But you certainly can’t. Can you believe this? I can not.

What to watch out for

The controversial dinner also led to meticulous examination Newsom’s ties to lobbyists, particularly Kinney, who has oscillated between lobbying and working in politics during his career. According to Politico, Kinney’s lobbying firm represents amusement park operators, who are pushing to relax restrictions.

Further reading

Senior California Doctors Attended French Laundry Dinner With Newsom (Politics)

Photos raise doubts over Newsom’s claim that dinner was outside amid COVID-19 outbreak (Los Angeles Times)Newsom says he made a ‘bad mistake’ attending an expensive party (Associated press)

Newsom’s Cozy Bond with Top Lobbyist Presented by French Laundry Dinner (Politics)

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