House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing controversy over footage of a solo hair salon visit in San Francisco at a time when California businesses are limited by concern over coronavirus.
Fox News first reported on the footage, which shows Pelosi in the salon, face mask around her neck. A stylist can be seen following her with a mask covering her mouth.
But Pelosi’s spokesman said she was complying with the rules as presented to her by eSalon.
“This business offered for the Speaker to come in on Monday and told her they were allowed by the city to have one customer at a time in the business,” said spokesman Drew Hammill in a statement. “The Speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment.”
The salon owner said she rents chairs to stylists, one of whom let her know in advance that Pelosi wanted a wash and a blow-dry.
California guidelines on salons vary by county, but San Francisco officials have not yet permitted indoor salons to open. The owner said she considered the service “a slap in the face” to business owners who have been forced to close.
Conservatives pounced, casting Pelosi as a hypocrite.
“Speaker Pelosi has pushed policies that would keep our economy closed and our small businesses shut down. But for herself?” Senate Republicans tweeted. “A salon visit whenever she pleases.”
President Donald Trump Tweeted that Pelosi “is being decimated for having a beauty parlor opened, when all others are closed, and for not wearing a Mask – despite constantly lecturing everyone else. We will almost certainly take back the House, and send Nancy packing!”
Crazy Nancy Pelosi is being decimated for having a beauty parlor opened, when all others are closed, and for not wearing a Mask – despite constantly lecturing everyone else. We will almost certainly take back the House, and send Nancy packing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 2, 2020
Pelosi says Republicans could help create the conditions to safely reopen if they would only “listen to the scientists”.
“Republicans are rejecting the funding needed for testing and tracing to crush the virus and safely reopen schools and the economy,” she wrote in a letter on Friday to her Democratic colleagues.
Pelosi recently faced some controversy for endorsing Joe Kennedy III in his primary challenge to Senator Ed Markey in Massachusets.
Democrats have long discouraged primaries to sitting colleagues in good standing with the party. Pelosi said her endorsement came because Kennedy worked hard to help Democrats win a majority in the House of Representatives in 2018.
Markey won on Tuesday night, with roughly 55 percent of the vote.
Al Jazeera and news agencies