MORRO BAY, Calif. (AP) — At a time when California residents were being urged to avoid social gatherings because of the risk of spreading coronavirus, U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy attended his son’s wedding in December with a small group of family members.
Video of the Dec. 5 event in coastal San Luis Obispo County posted online by the congressman shows 13 guests at the outdoor ceremony, none appearing masked. At the time, outdoor wedding ceremonies were allowed in the county, but receptions were banned and government rules said guests should wear masks, the Los Angeles Times reported.
One video posted online includes a shot of an invitation that says a celebration would follow the wedding ceremony.
The county health agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Bakersfield Republican said on his Facebook page that a planned 300-person wedding was scaled back because of the pandemic to only the couple’s parents, grandparents and sisters. “No uncles, no aunts, no cousins, and no friends,” he wrote.
He said it was fortunate the wedding took place one day before the state imposed another aggressive lockdown.
“We took every precaution to ensure a safe celebration,” McCarthy added. “We spent the majority of the time outside with the dinner following the ceremony in an almost completely open area. We wore masks indoors that day, except in those instances where some had to let makeup dry or when we were eating.”
“Did our families get close to one another? Of course. Did we feel safe? Of course,” he wrote. “Would I celebrate this beautiful day … again. You better believe it.”
McCarthy has criticized strict lockdowns like those imposed by California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Newsom has weathered a public drubbing for dining out with friends and lobbyists at an opulent San Francisco Bay Area restaurant last fall, while telling residents to stay home. Cell phone photos of the dinner showed the guests sitting close together without masks.
In September, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the target of criticism after a private visit to a hair salon at a time when such businesses were ordered closed.