Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is defending himself after being slammed for attending a small wedding ceremony for his son on the same day that he criticized the state's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom for congregating at a restaurant with other maskless patrons.
McCarthy said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times ‒ which first broke the story about his attendance to the wedding ‒ that the event was heavily pared down to include just the parents, grandparents and sisters of the bride and groom, in a largely outdoor ceremony at a venue in San Luis Obispo County in early December.
The 13 guests in attendance ‒ a rollback from the originally planned 300 ‒ wore masks indoors, except for when eating, McCarthy said, and was "respectful of the event staff and each other — on the day of the event and the lead-up as well."
Critics dinged the congressman, who has been outspoken against Newsom's aggressive lockdown measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state, as being hypocritic for attending a wedding while attacking Democrats who disregarded mask mandates.
Reports of McCarthy's attendance at the wedding also comes as top Republicans are leading a charge to recall Newsom from office because of his strict response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Golden State has reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the country, and Los Angeles has become the county with the most cases and deaths from the virus per capita in the nation.
California has reported more than 3.3 million confirmed cases since the pandemic started, and nearly 44,500 deaths.
McCarthy had previously mocked Newsom for attending a birthday lunch at a fancy French restaurant in early November with at least 10 other guests, flouting his own strict coronavirus mandates that limited outdoor dining to no more than three households gathering together at the same table.
He also slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for getting her hair done at a San Francisco salon sans mask, despite businesses being shuttered throughout many parts of the state amidst the pandemic.
McCarthy, however, said his son's ceremony was a "micro-wedding" with fewer than 20 guests and his family felt comfortable with the small gathering.
"I’ve always fought for people — not the government — to make the decisions that are right for them and their loved ones. Taking personal measures to protect yourself and your family are far more effective than any government mandate," he said.
"Did our families get close to one another? Of course. Did we feel safe? Of course. Would I celebrate this beautiful day on December 5, 2020 again. You better believe it," he added."
McCarthy posted a video compilation of the nuptials on social media last weekend-- nearly two months after the ceremony-- with the caption "Turned commenting off on this one...It’s a politics-free post!"
"My son married the love of his life in December—and though the wedding was small, the love we have for them could not be bigger. ❤️ I’m a very proud dad!" the post said.