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San Jose mayor apologizes for breaking COVID rules after telling others to follow them

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'I commit to do better'

Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Watermark Conference for Women 2018

The Democratic mayor of San Jose, California, has issued an apology for violating COVID-19 safety rules for Thanksgiving after urging everyone else to follow them.

"I apologize for my decision to gather for Thanksgiving with my family, contrary to the rules," Mayor Sam Liccardo tweeted Tuesday. " I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance w/ public health orders, & not to ignore them. I commit to do better."

Liccardo's statement addressed reports that he had gathered for Thanksgiving dinner with his elderly parents and an "unknown number" of other individuals after telling residents of San Jose to "cancel" their own gatherings.

"On Thanksgiving afternoon, my wife Jessica and I attended my parent's house for an outdoor dinner on their backyard patio, along with my sister-in-law," Liccardo said. He explained that eight total people from five different households "sat around three distanced tables in our own family groups on the back patio" and claimed they wore masks when not eating.

California's state government ordered that social gatherings be limited to a maximum of three households earlier this month, including the host's. Earlier last week, Liccardo urged people to "cancel the big gatherings this year" as Thanksgiving approached.

"I have a very large family — I am one of five children — and several of our family members who would have often joined us for Thanksgiving in the past — including sisters, nephews, nieces, and cousins — stayed home out of caution," Liccardo said.

"After I returned home, I saw an NBC reporter's tweet that I dined 'at home' for Thanksgiving, apparently based on information from my communications office," Liccardo continued. "Since that was inaccurate, I asked that we communicate with the reporter to correct the record, by clarifying that I was at my parents' home. The following day, my chief of staff reached out to that reporter, informing him that I was at my parents' house, which resulted in his report last night."

"I understand that the state regulations, issued on November 13th, limit the number of households at a private gathering to three," he said. "I apologize for my decision to gather contrary to state rules, by attending this Thanksgiving meal with my family. I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance with the public health orders, and certainly not to ignore them. I commit to do better."

Liccardo is not the first California official to act like a hypocrite with regards to COVID rules. In mid-November, California Gov. Gavin Newsom was caught attending a dinner party celebrating a lobbyist's birthday that did not abide by the rules.

So far there is no indication that either official will face consequences for their actions.

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