Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser flouted her own mask mandate on Saturday, less than 24 hours after she an executive order she signed went into effect requiring all D.C residents — vaccinated and unvaccinated alike — to wear masks in indoor public spaces. And her excuse for doing so — that she was actively eating and drinking at the time — is contradicted by video evidence.
Washington Examiner writer Tiana Lowe observed Bowser’s noncompliance with her own mask order during a wedding the mayor had the honor of officiating on Saturday — even providing photographic evidence in support of her story.
Bowser released a statement responding to the story asserting that “the Mayor wore a mask indoors in compliance with the mandate, and the organizers and venue staff worked to create a safe environment for the staff and guests.”
Then, on Tuesday, after photos of her sitting indoors without a mask began to take off on social media, Bowser tried to defend herself as “sitting at a dining table and dining.” But video presented by Lowe that same day showed that the dining portion of the evening had ended even as Bowser remained unmasked.
Bowser’s word games are part of a two-pronged strategy for defending herself, the other plank of which is smearing Lowe as a conspiracy theorist and casting her to be part of a broader right-wing conspiracy against her.
“Let me clear something up,” proclaimed Bowser, “because if you want to report on the right-wing wingnuts, have at it. But I’m not going to give it a lot of energy.”
She also implied that Lowe had been instructing “followers not to get vaccinated.” A cursory look at Lowe’s social media presence would reveal quite the opposite. In May, Lowe even wrote a column urging others to “take the vaccine made by American scientists to avoid contracting a virus that likely came from a Chinese lab. In the end, that’s the path back to normalcy.”
Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler, no one’s idea of a “right-wing wingnut,” gave the mayor his harshest grade and deemed the episode “embarassing.”