- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock urged others to “avoid travel” right before boarding a flight to visit his daughter in Mississippi, local media reported Wednesday.

“Pass the potatoes, not COVID,” Mr. Hancock’s account tweeted Wednesday morning. “Stay home as much as you can, especially if you’re sick; Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners; Avoid travel, if you can; Order your holiday meal from a local eatery; Shop online with a small business for #BlackFriday.”

About 30 minutes after the tweet was posted, Mr. Hancock boarded a flight to visit his daughter in Mississippi, KUSA-TV reported. His spokeswoman confirmed the trip to the outlet and said the mayor would also be meeting his wife there.

“As he has shared, the mayor is not hosting his traditional large family dinner this year, but instead traveling alone to join his wife and daughter where the three of them will celebrate Thanksgiving at her residence instead of having them travel back to Denver,” the mayor’s spokesperson said in a statement. “Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine.”

Mr. Hancock, a Democrat, had sent a memo to city staff just last week urging them to stay home for the holidays.

“I’m urging you to refrain from travel this Thanksgiving holiday,” he wrote Nov. 18, KUSA-TV reported. “For my family that means cancelling our traditional gathering of our extended family.”

The mayor said in the email that anyone who travels out of state should quarantine for 14 days upon their return, the station reported.

Mr. Hancock apologized in a series of tweets Wednesday evening, saying his ultimate decision to travel was “borne of my heart and not my head.”

“I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel,” the mayor wrote. “I have shared how my family cancelled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration.

“What I did not share, but should have, is that my wife and my daughter have been in Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job,” he continued. “As the holiday approached, I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver.

“I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone,” he added. “As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others, I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel. I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head.”

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