Newsom says he shouldn’t have attended controversial dinner party

Coronavirus

FILE – In this March 9, 2017, file photo, is the French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, Calif. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, that he should not have attended a birthday dinner with a dozen people at the posh French Laundry restaurant last week, saying that he should have set a better example for a virus-fatigued state that is seeing steep increases in coronavirus cases. Newsom’s decision to attend was made as he’s been telling others to not mingle with others outside their households. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he should not have attended a birthday dinner for a dozen people at the posh French Laundry restaurant last week.

He says he should have set a better example for a virus-fatigued state that is seeing steep increases in coronavirus cases. “While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner,” he said Friday.

The San Francisco Chronicle had reported earlier Friday of the Nov. 6 dinner to celebrate the 50th birthday of Newsom’s longtime friend and political adviser Jason Kinney.

The outdoor dinner at The French Laundry in Yountville in Napa County brought together 12 people, including the governor and his wife.

The California Republican Party accused him of “talking out of both sides of his mouth.”

Molly Weedn, a representative for Kinney, said all party guests followed safety protocols and declined to comment on why the celebration brought together more than three households.

“This was a small, intimate, 12-person dinner held outdoors with family and a few close friends to celebrate a 50th birthday,” Weedn said in a statement to the Chronicle.

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