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Denver mayor warns against holiday travel, then hops on a plane to visit family for Thanksgiving

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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D)/(Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is the latest Democrat to get caught flouting his own guidance amid the coronavirus pandemic, after his office confirmed that he flew out of state Wednesday to visit family for Thanksgiving — just 30 minutes after a warning went out from his Twitter account urging people to "avoid travel" for the holiday.

What are the details?

"Pass the potatoes, not COVID," a message from Hancock's Twitter feed read, urging constituents to "stay home as much as you can," suggesting they "host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinner," and warning folks to "avoid travel, if you can."

But local outlet KUSA-TV reported that roughly 30 minutes later, Hancock hopped on a flight to Houston, in order to visit is daughter in Mississippi. A spokeswoman for the mayor confirmed his plans, noting that his wife was already there.

Observers on social media were not impressed. "Are you kidding?" one person wrote in reply to Hancock's tweet. "We're out here, staying home, doing our best and you fly to Houston? Not only is this over-the-top hypocritical, it's plain stupid. Nice job giving the repubs more ammo."

Another chided, "Being that you are on a plane to visit family, can we visit family? You think it's safe enough for you, why not us?!?"

Some argued, "Every bar and restaurant in the city of Denver should re-open in protest of the Mayor's 'Do what I say, not what I do' policy."

What did the mayor say?

After the news broke and hit several national outlets, Hancock issued a public apology and his own explanation via Twitter, writing in a thread:

I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. I have shared how my family cancelled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration.

What I did not share, but should have, is that my wife and my daughter have been in Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job. 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.

I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone. 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.
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