Democrat Harley Rouda Spotted on Private Beach; Backed Public Beach Closures in Orange County

Harley Rouda (Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)
Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press

First-term Democrat Rep. Harley Rouda of California was spotted on a private beach in Orange County — even as he supported Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) criticism of communities that kept their beaches open to the public.

Last Thursday, Gov. Newsom ordered a “hard close” of beaches in Orange County, having scolded communities in the county for keeping beaches open to large numbers of people during a heat wave the previous weekend. Local communities argued that most beachgoers had maintained “social distancing,” and resolved to add more law enforcement to beaches while keeping beaches open. That was not good enough for Newsom — or Rouda.

In a statement last Thursday, Rep. Rouda criticized communities that had kept their beaches open: “Opening beaches to thousands of Southern Californians during a weekend heat-wave without adequate social-distancing protocols was a reckless action that put the families of California’s 48th district in harm’s way.”

However, Rouda himself was seen on a private beach with his family in Orange County last weekend.

CBS News 2020 campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar broke the story (original emphasis):

Photos obtained first by CBS News show Democratic Congressman Harley Rouda spending time at a private beach in Southern California despite orders from Governor Gavin Newsom to close some public beaches in the area, CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar reports. Rouda, a first-term Congressman who beat Dana Rohrabacher, represents the 48th district, which encompasses Orange County. Last week Newsom specifically ordered a “hard close” on Orange County beaches after photos showing people not respecting social distancing went viral on social media. Rouda’s campaign manager said in a statement that Rouda and his family “were actively moving and adequately socially distancing on a residential beach, which has explicitly outlined beach access requirements in accordance with Governor Newsom’s beach order.”

Rouda defeated veteran Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) in the 48th congressional district in 2018, basing his campaign in part on accusations that the incumbent was too favorable toward U.S.-Russia relations.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller reported in 2019 that there was no evidence of “collusion” between the Russian government and any American citizen.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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