Republicans railed against former President Obama and the Democratic Party’s “blatant hypocrisy” on COVID-19 after hundreds of people partied without masks at his extravagant birthday bash on Martha’s Vineyard over the weekend.
Obama reportedly had about 200 of his closest friends gathered Saturday night at his sprawling Martha’s Vineyard estate to celebrate his 60th birthday. Photos and videos that were stealthily taken against the event’s photography ban showed Obama and others dancing without wearing face masks.
Guests later complained they were forced to delete the photos and videos from social media.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, compared the party to past events that have been criticized by the media and Democrats as superspreaders, like anti-lockdown protests and church gatherings. He wrote that according to Democrats, COVID-19 spreads at those events but not at liberal parties or “San Francisco hair salons.”
Jordan was referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was caught on video last year getting her hair done without a mask while salons in San Francisco remained closed, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faced widespread criticism last November after he broke his own rules by mingling without a mask with California Medical Association officials at an upscale Napa restaurant.
“The blatant hypocrisy from Democrat leaders on COVID restrictions has been astounding,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted Sunday.
In another tweet on Monday, McDaniel blasted Obama and his guests, saying, “Many of these same Democrats would support forcing your 4-year-old to wear masks in school. Unreal.”
Obama’s party had been scaled back from 500 people after he faced criticism for hosting it amid a nationwide uptick in COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the delta variant. The guest list was cut to just family and friends, all of whom were reportedly asked to provide a negative test result.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed its mask guidance last month, saying people should wear masks in indoor public spaces, even if they are fully vaccinated. It has also recommended universal masking in K-12 schools.
Obama’s party was outdoors in a large tent, but Democrats and media still faced criticism for defending the gathering or ignoring its potential dangers.
RNC Rapid Response Director Tommy Pigott sent out an email blast Monday to reporters and donors with the subject line: “Dance the masks away.”
“As Biden and the Democrats try to force mask mandates on vaccinated Americans and 3-year-olds in school, this weekend Barack Obama was dancing the night away with dozens of rich liberal celebrities at his birthday party in Martha’s Vineyard,” Pigott wrote. “And what does Biden have to say? So far, nothing. Apparently, when Biden threatens more COVID restrictions and pushes mask mandates, he doesn’t mean for the liberal elite. What a hypocrite.”
New York Times White House correspondent Annie Karni sparked a firestorm on social media after she described Obama’s party as a “sophisticated, vaccinated crowd” that was “following all the safety precautions.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, had nothing to say about Obama’s party despite saying Sunday he was “very concerned” about the upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser also drew criticism this month after she was spotted maskless during an indoor wedding reception less than 24 hours after her order reinstating the district’s indoor mask mandate went into effect.