Critics have capitalized on surveillance footage that shows House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful Democrat in Washington, inside a beauty salon without wearing a mask. Pelosi has been an advocate for wearing facial coverings in public as a means to slow the spread of COVID-19, a safety precaution that almost immediately became politicized.
The footage, obtained by Fox News this week, shows Pelosi in a bathrobe, walking through E Salon SF with her mask hanging around her neck. The salon’s owner, Erica Kious, said that her salon has remained closed for weeks due to COVID restrictions, but that one of her stylists opened the studio specifically for Pelosi.
“It was a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work,” Kious told Fox News. “We have been shut down for so long, not just me, but most of the small businesses.” She added that the entire ordeal has her feeling “deflated, helpless, and honestly beaten-down.”
President Trump, who has a famously antagonistic relationship with Pelosi, seized on the instance to call her out. He tweeted:
The Speaker now insists that she had been “setup” in the image, accusing the salon of setting her in for an appointment and then selling the footage to Fox News.
“I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighborhood salon that I’ve been to many times,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “It was a setup, and I take responsibility for falling for a setup.”
Meanwhile, her spokesman, Drew Hammill, maintains that
Pelosi was indeed following protocol as she understood it. “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,” Hamill said. “The speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment.”
As for why her mask was off, Pelosi said her stylist had
just washed her hair. “I don’t wear a mask when I’m washing my hair,” she told reporters. “Do you wear a mask when you’re washing your hair?