WASHINGTON, Sept 3 — US President Donald Trump rounded on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday after she was caught on camera visiting a San Francisco hair salon in breach of coronavirus lockdown rules — and with her face mask removed.
The Democrat, a bete noire for Trump and his supporters, regularly hounds the billionaire Republican for his handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 180,000 people in the United States.
In June she targeted his procrastination over endorsing the use of face masks, widely seen as one of the most effective ways of controlling infection rates.
“Real men wear masks,” she said. Trump was not seen wearing one publicly until July.
Surveillance footage shows Pelosi walking from room to room inside the hair salon on Monday with her face mask removed.
Such treatments are still banned indoors in San Francisco as part of restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus.
“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,” the president tweeted, using one of his favourite mocking nicknames.
Salon owner outraged at Pelosi
Pelosi suggested, however, that the salon had misled her by claiming they were allowed to accommodate one customer at a time and declined to apologise.
“I take responsibility for trusting the word of a neighbourhood salon that I've been to over the years many times,” Pelosi told reporters.
“As it turns out, it was a setup. So I take responsibility for falling for a setup,” she added.
Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said she “always wears a mask and complies with local Covid requirements.”
“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. The Speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment,” he said.
The salon's owner, Erica Kious, told Fox News one of the hairstylists who rented a chair at the business had opened it specially for Pelosi's appointment.
“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 said.
“We have been shut down for so long, not just me, but most of the small businesses and I just can't — it's a feeling ... of being deflated, helpless and honestly beaten down.”
Kious added that she had been “fighting for six months” to reopen a business that had taken her 12 years to build.
“I am a single mom, I have two small children, and I have no income. We're supposed to look up to this woman, right? It is just disturbing.” — AFP