Kevin McCarthy Defends Son's Wedding amid California COVID Spike

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has defended his son's wedding taking place at a time when California faced a spike in COVID-19 cases. The Republican congressman also accused the Los Angeles Times, which reported the story, of trying to intimidate him.

The lawmaker from the Golden State posted footage on his Instagram account of the wedding of his son Connor at the Cass House venue in Cayucos, in San Luis Obispo County, on December 5.

At the time, the county allowed outdoor weddings as long as masks were worn but banned receptions, the LA Times reported. The paper said that footage shows the Republican congressman among the attendees who were not wearing masks.

The paper also noted that the event came just hours after McCarthy had slammed Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom for attending a birthday party which appeared to violate his own COVID safety measures.

House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2021. He has defended his son's wedding taking place as California faced a spike in COVID cases. Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

Newsom faced scrutiny for the dinner at The French Laundry restaurant in Napa County last November attended by people from different households.

At the start of December, California faced a surge of COVID-19 cases, exacerbated by the Thanksgiving holidays. A regional stay-at-home order went into effect on December 6, and the next day and by December 8, state officials reported a nearly 71 percent spike in hospitalizations over two weeks.

But in a statement on Facebook, McCarthy defended the wedding, saying: "We took every precaution to ensure a safe celebration—starting with just 13 family members."

"We spent the majority of the time outside with the dinner following the ceremony in an almost completely open area.

"We wore masks indoors that day, except in those instances where some had to let makeup dry or when we were eating. We were respectful of the event staff and each other—on the day of the event and the lead-up as well.

McCarthy, who has criticized the COVID measures enacted by Gov. Newsom, also referred to a stay-at-home order for the southern half of California, which included San Luis Obispo County, that went into effect on December 6.

"It was fortunate their wedding was on December 5th, one day before the state's most recent aggressive lockdown was set to begin with no rules coming forward."

"This isn't the first time the LA Times has targeted my family and it likely won't be the last. But I won't let the LA Times intimidate me, my family, or any Californian who works hard and lives their life as they think is best," he added.

Newsweek has contacted the LA Times for comment. In response to a request for further comment, Rep. McCarthy's office referred Newsweek to his Facebook statement.

Although there are some exceptions, Californians are still obliged to wear face coverings outside the home. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was criticized last September after footage showed her receiving an indoor salon treatment in San Francisco when such businesses were ordered closed.

The graphic below provided by Statista, shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of last week.

COVID Cases By US State

This story has been updated to include a response to Newsweek by Rep. McCarthy's office.