Gov. Newsom says he shouldn't have attended birthday party at French Laundry amid COVID-19 surge

SAN FRANCISCO -- Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement Friday afternoon after he attended a birthday party at French Laundry in Yountville in Napa County as coronavirus cases surge in California.

The Governor's office has confirmed the dinner on Nov. 6 was for one of Newsom's political advisers and included families from several different households. The party reportedly had 12 or more people from different households. It's the type of gathering Governor Newsom has been imploring Californians to avoid.

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ABC7 News Contributor Phil Matier weighed in on the governor's decision to attend the party saying Newsom wasn't practicing what he preached.

"He went into a restaurant patio with people from more than 12 different families," said Matier. "The restaurant patio was the French Laundry, one of the most expensive restaurants in the Bay Area. Not exactly an afternoon at Applebees."

The Governor issued a statement saying, "While our family followed the restaurant's health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner."

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On Friday, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly urged Californians to avoid gatherings with people this Thanksgiving. Reporters asked Dr. Ghaly about the governor's recent decision.

"Of course my focus is ensuring that we deal with the reality of surging cases that the guidance that I provided today and we've been working on with our local health partners around activities where you might gather indoors to reduce risk is really the message that we want to get out to our public," said Dr. Ghaly.

Republicans took the opportunity to point out the governor's hypocrisy including California RNC Committeewoman and Civil Rights Attorney Harmeet Dhillon.

Dhillon retweeted the San Francisco Chronicle report that broke the story, adding "Oh ... but no Thanksgiving for you."

By phone, she told ABC7 News the governor's decision was poor judgment and a slap in the face to Californians who are suffering.

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