Mayor Muriel Bowser made headlines this weekend when the Washington Examiner posted photos of her maskless at a Saturday wedding and alleged she defied her own mask mandate. Following a surge in cases from the Delta variant, Bowser ordered everyone in DC over the age of 2 to wear masks indoors as of Saturday.
It’s not clear in the photo whether Bowser had been eating or drinking—per the new indoor mask mandate, that’s a permissible reason to remove your mask.
Bowser officiated the rooftop wedding of Dannia Hakki, co-founder of Moki Media, and Christopher Powell. Hakki, a prominent local PR executive, has represented Union Market and other restaurant and hospitality businesses around town. According to photos circulating on social media, the ceremony took place on the rooftop of The Line hotel in Adams Morgan.
CNN White House correspondent Kate Bennett, who was in attendance, posted a photo of the outdoor ceremony to her Instagram story on Sunday with the text, “Just so we’re all clear: This is outside.”
The Examiner story, written by Tiana Lowe, showed photos of the mayor sitting at a table, maskless, indoors, and alleged that Bowser was not sitting at her designated table and did not mask up when she wasn’t actively eating or drinking.
“If Mayor Bowser was photographed indoors without a mask, it was during the indoor dinner, when she was eating or drinking,” her office told WTOP in a statement. “The Mayor wore a mask indoors in compliance with the mandate, and the organizers and venue staff worked to create a safe environment for the staff and guests.”
According to one of the organizers of the wedding, Lowe, the Examiner writer, was not invited to the wedding.
Lowe did not respond to a request for a comment. Her story says that Bowser was “approached” by the Examiner to explain why she wasn’t abiding by her own mask mandate, and then “security blockaded the free press.”
Bowser made a bunch of appearances over the weekend—Friday night she welcomed Dave Chappelle to town for his show at the Anthem as the club reopened, and Sunday night she was spotted at a party for Chappelle at the Kennedy Center. Today is the mayor’s birthday.
— John J. Falcicchio (@falcicchio) July 31, 2021
This post has been updated.