Washington Post Fact Checker: Mayor Bowser Gives ‘Poor Spin’ on Breaking Her Own Mask Mandate

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting on reducing gun violence, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler called out Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) for her “poor spin” on breaking the mask mandate she put in place 24 hours before.

The mayor announced on Thursday that the city would begin an indoor mask policy again starting Saturday morning, at 5:00 a.m., regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. In her executive order, she acknowledged that masks are “not required during the following activities/situations when a person is … actively eating or drinking.”

An opinion writer at the Washington Examiner caught Browser violating the mandate put into place early that day, Saturday. “Despite the mayor’s order, the wedding reception featured hundreds of unmasked guests served by dozens of wait staff, including a conspicuously unmasked Bowser,” the report read.

The “poor spin,” according to Kessler, was when she spoke to reporters and said, “We all know what the rules say about sitting at a dining table and dining. Don’t be ridiculous. … They took a picture of me where dinner and drinks were served.”

However, the Examiner added, “Bowser, who was not sitting at the table designated for her during wedding toasts, did not wear a mask despite not actively eating or drinking.”

In a follow-up article, the opinion writer added a video of the mayor with “hundreds of unmasked guests during the wedding toast.”

Kessler wrote:

The mayor and her office have responded with spin and obfuscation — what we in the news business call a non-denial denial. In the process, she seems to have recast the meaning of the executive order that went into effect on the day of the wedding.

This is an embarrassing moment for the mayor. The video clearly shows she is seated at a table, when the meal is over, in violation of her own mask mandate that says masks are not required indoors in these circumstances only when “actively eating or drinking.” But she could have used this an object lesson — that she got caught up in the celebratory mood and failed to put her mask back on. After all, everyone makes mistakes from time to time. But it’s important for political leaders to set an example — even when making an error.

Instead, she defended herself with partisan-laced spin and innuendo about “disinformation,” making false accusations about the reporter who exposed her actions.

“Instead, she defended herself with partisan-laced spin and innuendo about “disinformation,” making false accusations about the reporter who exposed her actions,” Kessler added, noting, she “poor spin” awarded her “Four Pinocchios.”


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