- The Washington Times - Friday, September 4, 2020

CNN host Don Lemon scolded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for claiming she was “set up” by a San Francisco hair salon that exposed her indoors wash and dry that flouted coronavirus-related laws in the city.

Surveillance footage released by the owner of eSalon on Union Street, which has been closed since March, showed Mrs. Pelosi with wet hair walking through the salon without a face mask on.

Indoor hairstyling is still banned in San Francisco, and face masks are required in all public settings.

Mrs. Pelosi later claimed she was “set up” by the salon.

“I take responsibility for trusting the word of a neighborhood salon that I’ve been to over the years many times,” the speaker said. “And that when they said [that] we’re able to accommodate people, one person at a time, and that we can set up that time, I trusted that. As it turns out, it was a setup. So, I take responsibility for falling for a setup.”

Mr. Lemon isn’t buying it.

“So the Speaker of the House is blaming the salon because she didn’t wear a mask indoors,” the CNN host said Wednesday night. “Tonight the salon owner is denying it is a set up. Regardless, this far into the pandemic the House Speaker should know what is safe and what isn’t. We should all know. It’s our responsibility. Instead of claiming a set-up, it would have been just as easy for the speaker to say, ‘You know what, I messed up. I should have worn a mask indoors.’”

Earlier Wednesday, the salon owner, Erica Kious, denied the set-up accusations in a tearful press conference on Zoom and said the hairstylist who let Mrs. Pelosi in did so without her expressed permission.

“Hairstylists and other small business owners in San Francisco and elsewhere are doing what they need to do to survive,” Ms. Kious said, ABC 7 reported.

“The point of releasing this video was to show a woman in a high-risk age group who spends much of her time on TV warning about the dangers of COVID-19, feel safe and comfortable in a San Francisco salon, and can be responsible for being cautious and mindful,” she continued said.

“Why can’t the rest of San Francisco and the rest of America do that, too?” she added.

The lawyer representing the hairstylist, Jonathan DeNardo, backed Mrs. Pelosi’s “set up” claim, and said Ms. Kious was fully aware of the speaker’s appointment.

Ms. Kious acknowledged earlier this week that she knew about the appointment ahead of time but had little control over it, given that the hairstylist is an independent contractor who rents a space in the salon.

She said she released the footage only after seeing Mrs. Pelosi wasn’t wearing a mask.

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