Less than an hour after taking to Twitter to tell Denver residents not to travel for Thanksgiving, Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock boarded a flight to Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with his wife and daughter.
Hancock’s deputy communications director, Mike Strott, confirmed the mayor traveled out of the state Wednesday morning to celebrate the holiday in Houston, Mississippi.
About 30 minutes before his flight, Hancock posted a tweet to his official account, urging Denverites to “stay home as much as you can” and to “avoid travel, if you can.”
According to KUSA-TV, Hancock sent an email to city staffers Nov. 18, writing, “As the holidays approach, we all long to be with our families with person [sic], 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’s email said anyone who travels out of the state will be required to quarantine for 14 days and city employees who cannot work from home will need to use paid time off to leave.
Then, during a Nov. 20 press conference, Hancock told Denver residents, once again, not to travel and celebrate Thanksgiving “with just the host you live with, and after the meal, as we’re gonna do, Zoom with your extended family — all your friends, everyone that you meet.”
He concluded by saying he is “pleading” for everyone to stay home.
Alongside many others, Denver resident Bradley Roulier sent a tweet to Hancock, rebuking him for his blatant hypocrisy.
“I’m not seeing my brother and sister because we are trying to stay safe,” he wrote. “This is selfish and a terrible example for the mayor. [By the way], downtown Denver has turned to a dump on your watch.”
Dr. Jennifer Hoffman, a professor at the University of Denver, told Hancock: “Your decision to flout your own guidelines is massively misguided and will only result in further erosion of public trust. You’re gonna come home to a lot of angry constituents who made sacrifices while you didn’t.”
Another social media user, Bryson James, tweeted: “Wow. There goes all your credit as a leader during the pandemic. How can anyone be expected to take your office’s mandates seriously now? Hope your Thanksgiving travels are worth it.”
“This is disgraceful,” added another person identified only as Ana. “We Lost my grandmother on the 13th. I’ve spend the last week convincing my mom and one of my sisters that travel and a large gathering is a bad idea. The hypocrisy is both astounding and completely unsurprising.”
Despite the fact Hancock is skirting his own restrictions and mandates, government officials are defending the Democratic mayor.
While continuing to urge Denverites to stay at home on Thanksgiving, Denver City Council President Stacie Gilmore said Hancock “made the personal decision to travel for Thanksgiving,” adding she expects he “will follow and comply with the directives he issued” once he gets back to the city.
The mayor’s spokesperson suggested it’s OK because Hancock “is not hosting his traditional large family dinner this year, but [is] instead traveling alone to join his wife and daughter where the three of them will celebrate Thanksgiving at her residence instead of having them travel back to Denver.” He added Hancock will quarantine when he returns.