Amid reports that the White House is planning a packed season of holiday parties, DC’s mayor has a simple request of would-be guests: Don’t go.
Technically, Muriel Bowser, whose government has restricted indoor gatherings to ten people or fewer, does not get to regulate what happens in federal properties like the Presidential mansion. But as the person responsible for the streets around Donald Trump’s residence—and responsible to the 700,000 residents who might later come into contact with people who were guests of the President—she’s not happy with the news.
“Sometimes people act in a moment of a fit of anxiety, and when they think about it, they think better of it. But clearly they’re just flouting common sense,” Bowser says. “Unfortunately, experience has shown people can get sick, and they’ve gotten sick at the White House—visitors and employees. So I’m concerned for all of them.”
In addition to violating DC regulations, the parties—the Washington Post reports that at least 25 are planned, all of them indoors—go against guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control. Though the White House event celebrating the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett infamously turned into a superspreader event, the Trump administration has said that precautions are in place this time.
But Bowser isn’t so sure about the Districts’s most famous address, which may be more secure than other houses—but is also a lot older, and a lot harder to leave.
“The White House is an old building and the spaces are, in a lot of cases, cramped, so it’s difficult to assure you can distance from someone. I ask everyone to use a rule of thumb that I use: I don’t go anyplace that I cant’ leave easily. You’re invited someplace, you don’t know what it’ll be like when you’re there. And it’s hard to leave the White House, it’s hard to leave when the President is speaking. But you may be in a dangerous situation so you probably shouldn’t go.”