Gavin Newsom is the governor of California, our largest and -- for a long time -- our most prosperous state. About 40 million people live in California. So far, two of them under the age of 18 have died of COVID-19.
So naturally, Gavin Newsom has shut down the entire state. Businesses are shuttered, people wear masks even as they eat, large groups are forbidden to congregate. Thanksgiving itself is on its way to being canceled. It's a tough way to live, but Californians have no choice. Gavin Newsom is California's epidemiologist-in-chief. He commands obedience and the serfs obey.
And then the San Francisco Chronicle broke a pretty amazing story: Gov. Newsom recently attended a birthday dinner up in wine country at The French Laundry, one of the best and most expensive restaurants in the world. There were 12 people at Newsom's dinner and to civilians, that number seemed to be a clear violation of Newsom's own rules.
However, we were told, it really wasn't. It turns out that Newsom was simply celebrating the birthday of a longtime friend of his, a lobbyist actually, called Jason Kinney. A spokesperson for Kinney described the night this way: "This was a small, intimate 12-person dinner held outdoors with family and a few close friends to celebrate a 50th birthday." In other words, no big deal.
For his part, Gov. Newsom assured his suffering subjects that "our family followed the restaurant's health protocols and took safety precautions." That was the story.
And then Fox 11 in Los Angeles received a picture of the birthday dinner up in Napa. It turns out it was not held outside. It was held in a private room, and not a spacious private room either. All 12 people were packed in tight, shoulder to shoulder, breathing on each other. No social distancing here. Not one of them is wearing a mask. A steam room in central Wuhan could not be more contagious than this dinner. Gavin Newsom's birthday party was a germ factory and his guests were human Petri dishes.
But what a guest list it was! Next to Governor Newsom sat the CEO of the California Medical Association, and one over from him sat one of the state's top health lobbyists. Together, the two of them represent tens of thousands of physicians, credentialed men and women of science in the state of California.
So if you're wondering why, if you live in California, you can't have Thanksgiving this year or visit your mother as she dies alone in the hospital, it is because of them and people like them. And yet there they were, eating $300 truffle pasta and living like this pandemic thing never even happened.
The picture of them doing it, known henceforth to history as "The French Laundry Photograph", is the year 2020 condensed to its essence. Here you have plutocrats dining with lobbyists, ignoring the very orders they're so self-righteously imposing on others, gorging themselves in seclusion as the people they're supposed to be helping wither and die. And then when they're caught, they lie about it.
How perfect is that? It's all there. Every element --hypocrisy, greed, selfishness, stupidity. This is our national moment in a single picture. So what's Gavin Newsom's explanation for this picture?
"I made a bad mistake, instead of sitting down, I should have stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove back to my house," he said. "Instead, I chose to sit there with my wife and a number of other couples ... You can quibble about the guidelines, etc., etc. But the spirit of what I'm preaching all the time was contradicted and I gotta own that. And so I want to apologize to you."
OK, Gavin. So you had no idea there were going to be a dozen people at your own party? You're the governor, but you never saw the guest list, you were totally shocked? That's ridiculous. It's too stupid to be an explanation and we are more stupid for pretending to believe it.
Why not tell the truth, which is, "I don't really totally believe everything I say, at least not enough to let it interfere with dinner"? That's the truth. You know it and he knows it, but he's forcing us to play along with an absurd lie. On the other hand, at least Gavin Newsom didn't follow the lead of Nancy Pelosi and blame the restaurant. He didn't accuse the maitre d' of setting him up as part of a conspiracy.
The French Laundry probably won't suffer the same fate as Pelosi's hairstylist, at least as long as they stay quiet about it. And to his credit, Gavin Newsom didn't follow the example of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Feinstein has refused to answer any questions as she parades around the halls of the United States Senate and private airport terminals maskless and exposed. We've had no explanation for that.
At this point, we should point out that this spring, police in California hunted down a lone man paddleboarding in the Pacific Ocean. He was off the coast of Malibu, probably infecting the seals. The authorities saw this. They got on boats. They alerted the Coast Guard, and then sheriff's deputies put this criminal in handcuffs. They arrested him and threatened him with six months in prison for breaking corona law and the media in California treated this like it was totally normal.
Again, this man was literally put in handcuffs for paddleboarding alone. They didn't even claim it was a threat to marine life. They didn't even make up a pretext. They just did it. And like seals, everyone applauded. The paddleboarder gets arrested, Gavin Newsom gets to dine in peace. What's the lesson here? You know the lesson: if you want to live like a human being, you've got to get elected to something and then you can break your own rules. Otherwise, don't even think about it.
This is not conventional hypocrisy. This is an act of hostility against the population of the country. They despise you and they're flaunting it. This is how people who don't like you behave. They force you to do one thing, they do another, they get caught, they're not embarrassed and they keep forcing you to do the thing they're not doing. That's an act of hostility. They don't like you.
In an ideal world, we'd all be at The French Laundry laughing and eating with our friends. It sounds wonderful, especially now. Sadly, we can't do that. We're not the governor of anything.
This article has been adapted from Tucker Carlson's opening monologue on the Nov. 18, 2020 edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."