Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took a beating in the headlines over the past week for scheduling a traditional sit-down dinner for new members of Congress, especially given the fact that Democrats have shamed Americans for the past six months for gathering with family or friends to share a meal in the age of COVID-19.
According to The New York Post, the pressure Pelosi faced over the dinner must have been too great, as it was announced on Friday that plans for the fancy gathering inside the U.S. Capitol building were scrapped and instead, new lawmakers were provided with boxed dinners to go.
Earlier in the week, Pelosi attempted to defend holding the lavish dinner for her new colleagues, promising that proper social distancing would be in place, even saying that a Capitol doctor had signed off on the event.
“@SpeakerPelosi told me it’s safe. ‘It’s very spaced,’ she said and there is enhanced ventilation and the Capitol physician signed off,” NBC correspondent Leigh Ann Caldwell tweeted.
During the same time period, according to Business Insider, several Democrat governors generated nationwide controversy by announcing harsh restrictions for families planning their traditional family Thanksgiving dinners, leaving Americans wondering why gathering for dinners would be allowed for lawmakers but not for them.
Not surprisingly, Republicans railed Pelosi for going on with the ceremony, but the controversy even caught the attention of staunch Democrat Chelsea Clinton, who pleaded with Pelosi via Twitter to cancel it.
“Please cancel these in-person dinners, @SpeakerPelosi & @kevinomccarthy to keep everyone safe from #covid19 – yourselves, your new members, servers, the Capitol police and all of their families and contacts. And, to show public health leadership,” Clinton tweeted.
It didn’t take long before Pelosi’s chief of staff, Drew Hammill, pulled back on the idea of holding a traditional welcome dinner and offered the choice for new members of Congress to eat inside or take their dinner to go. Ultimately, they scrapped any in-person dining altogether, forcing the new members to take boxed dinners to go.
“Members-elect are now picking up their boxed meals and departing the Capitol. There is no group dinner. Members-elect are in DC already for orientation,” Hammill tweeted on Friday.
It’s likely that many Americans wouldn’t have cared if Pelosi followed through with the traditional dinner if she wasn’t constantly guilty of following the Democrats’ “rules for thee, but not for me” mantra.